The Business of Angels

angels cover

Catalogue no. PIP1110

THE BUSINESS OF ANGELS: English Recorder Music from the Stuart Era

Music by Corelli, Händel, Paisible, Daniel Purcell, Finger, Topham, Mercy, Eccles, anonymous tunes from recorder tutors, and divisions from The Division Flute.

Alison Melville, recorder; Lucas Harris, theorbo & baroque guitar; Borys Medicky, harpsichord; Nadina Mackie Jackson, baroque bassoon; Joëlle Morton, bass viol.

Booklet design by Yesim Tosuner,

Jacques/James Paisible: Sonata VI, Presto (Melville, Harris, Morton)

Price: $14 plus shipping and handling = within Canada: $17.80; to USA: $18.75; everywhere else: $21.00. HST added at checkout. Discounts available if you want more than one!

Also available in digital format from and other online vendors:


 ‘Composers like Jacques Paisible and Gottfried Finger were among the many musicians from the continent who came to Restoration England, influencing and indeed being influenced by such indigenous figures as Daniel Purcell and William Topham. Their works are appealingly tuneful, and idiomatically well suited to the recorder and its many accomplished amateur players of the period…Alison Melville is one of Canada’s leading recorder players; her performances here combine scholarship, elegance and vitality, and capture the spirit of the music with authority and conviction. The four continuo players enable various combinations to be selected that provide both substance and transparency. Deserving of special note is the bassoon playing of Nadia Mackie Jackson. The bass line in the closing variations of Corelli’s Folia…is mastered with stunning virtuosity – bravo! This is a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable disc.’ The Recorder

‘This fine release…fills a big gap with its generous selection of recorder music that an English player might have known around 1700. Such a player would have been attuned to the powerful new virtuosic currents of music coming from Italy, and it is especially noteworthy that Corelli‘s Violin Sonata Op. 5, No. 12 (“La follia”), was published in a recorder arrangement in London in 1702, barely two years after the Roman publication of the violin version. Melville handles the technical challenges elegantly…Yet the recorder was not just about virtuosity, and what makes this recording special is the way virtuoso pieces are mixed in with teaching works and pieces of what would now be called more of a mass-market nature. Handel‘s overture to ‘Rinaldo’ was arranged for recorder simply as a way of getting the music affordably into the hands of fans, just as operatic pieces would quickly be made into piano or quartet versions a century later…The single pieces here are true solo pieces, drawn from instruction books, and they uniformly offer testimony to the fertile imagination of the mostly forgotten group of composers represented here: a group with international origins that nevertheless cohered into something characteristically English. Best of all, the sound from the small Pipistrelle label is as thoroughly pleasant as the music and Melville‘s playing. An essential purchase for recorder fans that will also make a few new ones.’  James Manheim,

‘Si l’angélisme est une entreprise, alors celle de ces musiciens de Toronto est promise à une belle prospérité. Provenant en majorité de compositeurs inconnus…les pièces sur ce disque constituent de beaux exemples de musique profane anglaise du 17e siècle. Rien de bien surprenant, mais du plaisir assuré à l’écoute de ces petites sonates pimpantes, jouées avec brillance par les musiciens torontois. Alison Melville est une interprète de premier niveau et maîtrise avec brio cet instrument mal aimé – et si mal représenté par l’épreuve qu’il fait subir à tant de parents qui doivent écouter leurs enfants en jouer, par obligation, aux concerts de fin d’année. Peut-être que si on leur offrait ce disque, ils comprendraient alors tout le potentiel de beauté que possède ce petit morceau de bois!’       La Scena Musicale, April 2011

‘…It is a pleasure to note that Alison Melville’s recorders make a cheerful noise…One must also note the bumptious presence of Nadina Mackie Jackson’s bassoon…’ Fanfare, July/August 2011

‘The recorder enjoyed great popularity in the Stuart Era and many instructional manuals and collections with repertoire of excellent quality were published in London. The preface of one such, The Genteel Companion…provided this recording with its title…”Musick, beloved of Heaven, for it is the business of angels; desired on earth as the most charming pleasure of men.” While the recorder may have been fairly accessible, it takes a skilled and sensitive hand to do justice to an art of heavenly origins.  And who better in modern times to lend a light and supple touch than local virtuoso Alison Melville, accompanied by Lucas Harris, guitar and archlute; Borys Medicky, harpsichord; Joëlle Morton, bass viol; and Nadina Mackie Jackson, baroque bassoon….sweet and refined sonatas…complemented by jaunty divisions on popular grounds by Eccles and Tollett. A lively and charming portrayal of London’s sweeter side.’   The WholeNote, May 2011

‘…I am a recorder player and often enjoy music that the mainstream might not, (and on the other hand, am a bit fussy about it as well) but this CD is wonderfully recorded and the musicians top notch. The choice of music is light and creative and the arrangements of some that I am familiar with, are now my favorites. I have no doubt that the musicians were having a good time playing and this will be an easy one to reach for on any occasion. Some fun toe tappers as well.’        Customer review, June 2012

‘…Der Vielfalt der Solostücke, Variationsfolgen, Suites, Folktunes und Bearbeitungen aus Opern spiegelt die Bedeutung Londons also musikalisches Zentrum wider. Musikstile aus allen Windrichtungen Europas wurden dort zusammengeworfen…Die getroffene Auswahl vermittelt davon einen guten Eindruck…Besonders schön ist das Zusammenspiel von Gambistin Joëlle Morton, Lautenist Lucas Harris und Alison in James Paisibles Sonata 6 oder die klängliche Vielfalt der Fagottistin Nadina Mackie Jackson…Von den drei Diminutionen aus der Division Flute von 1706 bleibt besonders Bellamira von Eccles im Gedächtnis. Eindringlich und intensiv spielt sie auf Altblockflöte Solo-Lieder aus Humphry Salter’s The Genteel Companion…Das Booklet ist liebevoll gestaltet und informativ, und die Augnahme erfüllt alle Ertwartungen…’ Tibia, 4/2013

 angels booklet p.1

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