An extract from Kate Bott’s introduction to this recording:
“This project began over lunch at Pavlo Beznosiuk’s house, when he, Mark Levy and I were spending a day playing through our favourite repertoire, with a view to making a CD celebrating the compelling sound of one voice and two fiddles. The fiddle was a five-stringed bowed instrument which was the most important musical instrument in the middle ages, because in the hands of a master fiddler it could so closely follow and imitate the human voice. We’d begun exploring this combination of gut strings (theirs and mine) almost by chance a few years ago—and the experience proved so liberating that we kept going.
“There are various ways of creating a programme for a recording. You can record someone’s complete output within a genre—but no one wrote their songs and dances exclusively for soprano and fiddles. You can devise a programme around a theme—well, the overwhelming topic for solo songs is, of course, unrequited love, but that would mean leaving out so many interesting lyrics. Or you can just make a delicious and varied selection of great music from among your own personal favourites and go into a recording studio.
“A studio? When it is a truth universally acknowledged that early music is always recorded in a lovely country church? How could we deprive ourselves of all those stirring times when your best performance ever fades into a Gothic silence accompanied only by the distant roar of a ride-on lawnmower, or a reassuring helicopter accompanying the passage of Someone Very Important to the nearest country house hotel? Without a backward glance, as it turned out.
“Mark and Pavlo are players of international standing on the Baroque viol and violin—I never fail to be moved by the passion and spontaneity of their performances on medieval fiddles, and I’m bowled over by their commitment to getting the most out of these more primitive instruments. It was one of those magical recordings that was a delight to make from start to finish.
“Whether you’re discovering this wondrous music for the first time or are revisiting much-loved repertoire, I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as we do.”