Palisander recorder quartet launch their debut album, Beware the Spider

PUBLISHED: 17:04 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:48 10 February 2017

Lydia Gosnell (second from right) with recorder quartet Palisander

Lydia Gosnell (second from right) with recorder quartet Palisander


Lydia Gosnell from Woodberry Down talks about launching the album, playing for 24 hours in a row and raising £4,500 for a six foot recorder

Lydia Gosnell (second from left) with recorder quartet Palisander Lydia Gosnell (second from left) with recorder quartet Palisander

For most kids, the recorder is the first instrument we learn to play, and the first we give up. It has associations of primary school and plastic toys but few people know how it sounds to hear it played well.

Lydia Gosnell, who grew up in Woodberry Down, has a master’s degree in playing recorder and historical flute from Guildhall and is making her mark as a professional, alongside her quartet.

Formed while they all studied at Guildhall, Palisander are about to launch their debut album, Beware the Spider! Inspired by the idea of tarantism, they first got the idea when they had to find something spooky to play on Halloween.

In the 17th century, victims of venomous spider bites weren’t offered medicine. Instead, local musicians would compose curative melodies.

“Some of the music is inspired by the symptoms the victims would suffer such as nightmares, melancholy, hysteria, and some are authentic tarantellas which we have reconstructed,” says Gosnell of the album.

“We like taking stories rooted in history, but not bound by it, and devising programmes around them - this enables us to feature a wide range of music.”

Lydia and her 6ft contrabass recorder Lydia and her 6ft contrabass recorder

All four of them teach music, both individually and as a group, but Palisander is their main focus. As one of six of St John’s Smith Square’s Young Artists for this year, they are launching their album at the prestigious venue.

The four of them play different sized recorders ranging from six inches to six feet long. They raised £4,500 last year to buy the human-sized instrument by holding a 24 hour recorder-thon.

“We broke the day up by including a workshop for children, a play along session for more advanced players to join us and a lecture recital, as well as live streaming the event,” Gosnell explains.

She says that getting the contrabass recorder has allowed the group to play music they wouldn’t have been able to without it.

“It was great so many people got behind it to make it happen and to receive messages of support on social media, even from other parts of the world, in the early hours.

“It’s not something I’d recommend doing, but we did have fun and we think it bodes well that we can get on with each other so well, even in those circumstances!”

Palisander perform at St John’s Smith Square on February 16 and 7:30pm.


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