Recorder quartet who don’t fear the spiders

PUBLISHED: 14:09 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 25 April 2018

Lydia Gosnell (second from left) with recorder quartet Palisander

Lydia Gosnell (second from left) with recorder quartet Palisander


Recorder virtuoso Lydia Gosnell will be coming home when her quartet play the Hackney Proms next month.

Recorder virtuoso Lydia Gosnell will be coming home when her quartet play the Hackney Proms next month.

Since self-releasing their debut album Beware The Spider! last year, Palisander have toured their instruments - from six inches to six feet tall - to Israel France and Japan.

Named after a 17th century practice called tarantism, the album features early music from Vivaldi and Byrd, and gained critical praise, with one Classic FM video going viral with more than 4.6 million views.

When the group play the Hackney Showroom, they will be sharing historic accounts of this unusual remedy for arachnid bites and playing a tarantella from Italy, and Vivaldi’s Nightmare Concerto because “that’s one of the symptoms of spider bites,” says Gosnell, the fourth generation of her family to live on Hackney’s Woodberry Down Estate.

“Palisander is about bringing the recorder to new audiences who are often not aware of what it can do,” she adds: “The huge range is a surprise; we will play music spanning 400 years. The inspiration is that 17th Century victims of spider bites were offered no medicinal relief. Instead local musicians would work together to find a curative melody.”

Palisander prides itself on imaginative, entertaining, family friendly programmes with a wide repertoire, performed largely from memory. They have played for the Wigmore Hall’s Chamber tots series; Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now scheme, and collaborated on a touring puppet show titled Dr Dee’s Daughter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Gosnell teaches for Hackney Music Service and believes the instrument is highly democratic: “cheap available and affordable”.

“We do workshops in schools to inspire children to see the recorder is not just a starter instrument it can go somewhere.”

The Hackney Proms is a charity promoting classical music in the borough by staging relaxed, informal Sunday morning concerts where both babies and grandparents are welcome.

Palisander play Hackney Showroom, at Hackney Down Studios on May 13 at 11.30am. Tickets

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Islington Gazette