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‘Tickle The Minikin’ is a fascinating collection of repertoire. It represents the culmination of an equally fascinating journey from Smith’s discovery of the manuscript as a photocopy in the library at the Hague, following it to the British Library, tracing concordances of many of the pieces, and making his own edition. The CD stands as a fitting tribute to the time and effort that has clearly gone into unearthing and revealing the repertoire.

Stylistically, Smith plays with flare, flamboyance and dexterity. There is a great variety of styles in the pieces themselves: flippant little dances, more grounded preludes, and some wonderful character pieces. I find the consistently accented articulation a little much on occasion, just sometimes wanting a more sustained legato melodic line. It suits many of the pieces well though, such as the anonymous Lancashire Pipes pair with the fantastic resonance created by the bottom strings very evocative of the pipes. Particular favourites of mine are the Air by the unknown John Taylor, and the Thumping Almaine – the playful mix of pizzicato and arco is guaranteed to raise a smile. The most beautiful and spacious track I think is a poised rendering of an Allemande by Jenkins. I very much enjoyed this disc – a good addition to your lyra-viol collection, or a great place to start!

Alison Kinder Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing