“Lead we not here a jolly life Betwixt the shine and shade” We can safely assume that the dramatist Henry Taylor was not thinking of the recorder when he penned these words in 1834. The instrument, once hugely popular, had long since fallen out of fashion, and was not to enjoy a revival for almost a century. It had, in any case, never been considered capable of expressing the extremes of musical light and shade. It is arguably only in the 20th century that the recorder has found its true expressive voice. The music on this album is a testimony to the shining brilliance and soulful emotion which can be coaxed from a simple pipe. Considering the huge upsurge of interest in the recorder in recent decades, it is remarkable that such high-quality music by English composers of stature has largely been neglected in favour of, on the one hand, indifferent baroque sonatas, and on the other tuneless avant-garde experiments. Much of the music here would not exist without the pioneering work of the late Carl Dolmetsch, who commissioned over 50 new pieces for his annual Wigmore Hall recitals between 1939 and 1989. We have chosen five of the best works from this important collection, together with two others of similar merit, to produce a programme which places the recorder firmly in the musical mainstream.