Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 opens Australian recorder player Alicia Crossley’s latest release, Alchemy, with a shock to the system. Performed on bass recorder, the familiar work is removed entirely from its comfort zone. Crossley takes the suite at a quick pace, her loud breaths a reminder of the realities of performing on such a colossal instrument. The work is followed by Telemann’s Fantasia No 10 on the naturally louder tenor recorder. Although she’s well suited to the baroque, Crossley demonstrates her versatility across a variety of cultures and eras, each work transcribed to suit her needs.
Australian composer Anne Boyd’s Goldfish Through Summer Rain introduces exquisite harp textures in a Japanese-sounding work inspired by a Korean poem. Debussy’s Syrinx – originally for flute – is performed expressively with vibrato altering timbre rather than pitch. Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea follows with extended techniques such as ‘finger shading’ and ‘fluttement’ (finger-vibrato) in a spiritual pairing with guitar.
A dreamy Sicilienne by Fauré reintroduces harp, but you’ll have to wait for the end to reach the standout – JacobTV’s The Garden of Love. Of all the unlikely pairings, who knew tenor recorder and Boombox could work so well? The composition challenges Crossley to keep in time and balance with the pre-recorded voice and bird sounds that make up the accompaniment. She succeeds. Alchemy is a refreshing listen for those with an open mind.