The initial inspiration for this project came with the discovery of a wealth of extravagant salon music written for a now obsolete wind instrument called the czakan (or csakan / csakany). Originating in Hungary, the earliest examples of these instruments were essentially baroque recorders of simple, streamlined profile, usually pitched in the key of A.
This forgotten musical heritage has been a springboard for the remainder of the works on this album, which need little introduction in their own right, yet open up a new panorama for an instrument stuck in the annals of time. The art of transcription has been a key weapon in every romantic virtuoso’s arsenal, allowing the soloist to bring his own touch to music from many different genres (indeed much of the czakan’s original repertory comprises orchestral and operatic arrangements in this vein), and the tradition of making personalised versions of well-known works was to continue well into 20th century through such eminent musicians as Busoni and Kreisler.
It has been a challenge and often a pleasure to see how the recorder responds to the demands of the grand romantic style. Michael Dawson’s super-voiced recorders have helped to alleviate problems of balance with a modern grand piano, and creative arrangement of both solo and accompanying parts has been required to counteract the instrument’s limited pitchrange; but in return, the recorder brings its own unique, expressive – and occasionally heroic - voice to some of our best loved classics.