Summer is Icumen in

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So if you were rung up by a stranger offering a concert of Early Music at a very reasonable price - would you say ‘yes please’ or ‘no thank you’?

Those of us who think of recorders as school instruments (can you still play Three Blind Mice?) would probably turn the offer down and miss something rather special!

“Mean Time” is an early music ensemble founded in 2003 in Greenwich, specialising in work with the recorder. They are also proficient in singing and playing the baroque flute and harpsichord.

The concert they gave in St Mary’s Church, Claxby on July 30 was a delight.

The first half of the programme was mainly of English music and ranged from the medieval ‘Sumer is icumen in’ of their title through music by Henry VIII to pieces from ‘The Bird Fancyer’s Delight’ - a collection of recorder pieces intended to teach caged birds to sing!

The music in the second half of the programme ranged from the 18th to the 20th century and included Daquin’s ‘The Cuckoo’, Trio Sonatas by Telemann & William Williams, and an astonishing piece from Hans Martin-Linde’s ‘Music for a Bird’ (written in 1968), that explores a range of sounds that brings the recorder into the modern musical world.

An extra bonus was the chance to see all the instruments at close quarters, and to have a chance to talk to the performers about them. All in all, a great evening!