Music written for Seldom Sene

Brilliant Classics 95956 • September 2019

An eclectic collection of music commissioned by Seldom Sene between 2015 and 2018. 

Aspasia Nasopoulou's Ten dipoles (2016) is a collection of miniatures inspired by the ten opposites or ‘dipoles’ which, according to a pre-Aristotelian theory, form the basic principles of all elements. To surpass and challenge the usual sound potential of a recorder quintet she asked sound artist Horst Rickels and designer Ernst Dullemond to create a set of new instruments: the Ten Free Aerophones, which act in various ways in a lively game with the recorders.

Sören Sieg's African suite no. 24: Mathongo amnandi (2018) is all about dreaming. Its title means “sweet dreams” in Xhosa, one of the twelve official languages of South-Africa and the four movements are Free as a bird, Dream stories, Blue Earth and Awakening. 

Quo quondam victa furore (2015) by Paul Leenhouts is a narrative musical poem, based on the Culex ('The Mosquito') from the Appendix Vergiliana. This pastoral miniature epic tells the story of a shepherd. After tending his flocks from dawn to noon, he finds a small group of trees and falls asleep in the shade at a murmuring fountain. Chance brings along an enormous snake which discovers the sleeping shepherd... Will his life be spared?

Finally, Thanasis DeligiannisA bit unfair is based on three short poems by Iacovos Camhis. The performers interchange roles as recorder players, singers or a mix of both. There is always some vulnerability exposed when instrumentalists are asked to sing or be present with their bodies on stage. This is exactly what Thanasis Deligiannis is moved by: the way performers deal with their own bodies and voices.


With Klaartje van Veldhoven, soprano

Brilliant Classics 95654 • March 2018

Baldwine • Byrd • Dowland • Gibbons • Nicholson

Patrick • Purcell • Tye

King Henry VIII of England (1491–1547) had a natural inclination for music and established ensembles of viols, recorders, flutes and shawms at Court. This rich musical tradition continued throughout the reigns of Elizabeth I and her successor James I. In this CD, Seldom Sene and Klaartje van Veldhoven present ingenious instrumental repertoire and songs of sundry kinds: from theatrical laments to celebrations of spring and settings of devotional poetry.


Arranged by María Martínez Ayerza

Brilliant Classics 95591 • October 2017

Humour, emotion, order, gracefulness, power – nothing is strange to the Goldberg Variations! This well-known collection condenses the art of harpsichord playing into thirty wide-ranging pieces based upon a simple bass line. Beautiful arias, intelligent canons, elegant dances and spectacular toccatas display the styles, forms and techniques available to professional keyboardists in Bach's time.

This album was selected Bach Album of the Year 2017 by the listeners of Geen Dag zonder Bach on Concertzender Nederland.




With Matthias Havinga, harpsichord and organ

Brilliant Classics 96181 • December 2020

Bach • Handel • Vivaldi • Bertali • Scheidt

Masterpieces of the Baroque concerto as you’ve never heard them before!

Baroque concertos are very attractive to adapt because of their virtuosity and expressiveness. In Seldom Sene's new album, this repertoire is brought to life with the added colours of harpsichord and organ. The challenge was to create a wide variety of sounds through the intelligent use of different types of recorders and the stops of both keyboard instruments.

The Sixth Brandenburg Concerto of Bach is an obvious candidate for Seldom Sene's performance, having originally been written for a similarly homogeneous ensemble of lower strings. In Handel’s lovely Organ Concerto Op.4 No.1 Havinga retains the solo part while the recorder quintet plays the role of orchestra and basso continuo. The roles are reversed in Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso Op.3 No.10, where the harpsichord accompanies the recorders’ flights of fancy. Havinga "flies solo" in Bach's Concerto BWV 975, a keyboard arrangement of an original by Vivaldi.


Seldom Sene also included two early baroque works in this record.  The charming Sonata for five recorders and organ by the Italian-born Viennese court composer Antonio Bertali is an originally scored rarity and the cheerful Canzon super O Nachbar Roland by Samuel Scheidt provides plenty of opportunities for playfulness in ensemble playing.


A musical mosaic spanning five centuries​

Brilliant Classics 94871 • September 2014

Desprez • Cabezón • Victoria • Handl • Tye

Coprario • Holborne • Johnson • Tallis • J.S. Bach

Boismortier • Frenzel • Reger • Caldini • Geysen


Taracea is the Spanish word for an inlaid decorative work made from small pieces of different coloured woods and other fine materials, arranged to form intricate geometric shapes. For this CD, we sought a collection of contrasting, masterful works that would 'slot together' to form a harmonious, yet stylistically varied mosaic. We have paid special attention to the repertoire that we consider to be the golden ages of consort playing: the Renaissance and our own time, and made excursions into music from other eras - in particular the Baroque and the earlier 20th century.


Music from the courts and cathedrals

of 16th-century Spain

Brilliant Classics 95304 • February 2016

Antonio & Hernando de Cabezón • Caroso

Desprez • Guerrero • Lobo • da Milano • Morales

Peñalosa • de la Torre • Vásquez • Verdelot


The title, taken from the Ode to Francisco de Salinas by Fray Luis de León, invokes the tranquility of some of the motets and love songs on this record. Our main goal behind this eclectic collection is to revisit ideals and practices which were essential in the 16th century which seeks to find structure and balance, just intonation, ornamentation and text expression. The ensemble also aims to display the masterful beauty of Renaissance music and to suggest a variety of moods and emotions that may also speak to the heart and soul of the contemporary listener.



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Check out a few videos made during the recording of Taracea and El aire se serena.

Click on the links below to see a two-part video report of the recording of Not a single road.