Inspired by Song – The Idea

On his new CD Inspired by Song, South African recorder player Stefan Temmingh is focusing on English songs. He has invited Dorothee Mields, one of the leading baroque sopranos, to join him and his ensemble. Early baroque tunes, for example Greensleeves, and works by famous composers such as Henry Purcell, John Dowland and Francesco Geminiani were the inspiration for the flamboyant instrumental versions recorded by Stefan Temmingh and his ensemble „The Gentleman’s Band“.


For the very first time, these virtuosic variation cycles for recorder and basso continuo are set in counterpoint to the original well known melodies. The CD also contains several world premiere recordings, e.g. of The King’s Health, a vocal version of La Follia from the 17th century.


Stefan Temmingh about Inspired by Song


"For me, Inspired by Song is a project that is intended to communicate proximity to living human beings, while at the same time conveying a genuine love of life. Even during the age of the Baroque, instrumentalists would make their virtuoso embellishments and complex harmonies more accessible by using as the basis of their compositions popular melodies picked up in the street. The words of these songs were always very basic and down to earth: the feeling of being loved in John, Come Kiss Me Now; the frustration of a mother trying to get her child to sleep in Lady Ann Bothwel’s Lament; the grief of a spurned lover in Greensleeves; and death itself in Dido’s Lament. These are all emotions and situations in life that are familiar to each and every one of us.


Familiar experiences are always a source of delight – our mother’s cooking, for example, old friends or a favourite pullover. It is no different with music, and this principle also plays an important role in this CD, partly through the choice of songs that were already well known throughout Europe during the Baroque period and partly through their virtuoso garb and their revival in the form of variations for recorder and ensemble.


In my opinion, the only way of to convey the liveliness of music is summed up in the final lines of The King’s Health : 'Let Wit, Wine, and Beauty then teach us our Duty.' Classical music is not about visiting a museum but is an act of celebration commemorating our love of life. Everyone is invited."