Log in

No account? Create an account

April 14th, 2018


Canterbury Clerkes & London Serpent Trio - Sportive Little Trifler

Pleasures and Treasures is a compilation of recordings on the Saydisc label, and it might just be the least rock'n'roll album ever made. It's crammed with handbells, singing nuns, musical boxes, wax cylinder recordings, and weird vintage instruments. Sportive Little Trifler falls mostly into the last category.

The serpent is an amazing musical instrument. It's made of wood, or sometimes cured leather, and is basically a long tube that's curled around into the shape of a snake. It has woodwind fingerholes like a woodwind, and a brass mouthpiece. It's also exceptionally difficult to make a noise with it that doesn't sound like fart escaping from a dead cow. Very few people play it well, but if you're interested check out Michel Godard accompanying the great Linda Sharrock.

Anyway, the London Serpent Trio are an entirely different matter, as are the Canterbury Clerkes. This is heritage music, preserved against all the odds from its 18th century origins (probably, I'm no expert here), with little regard as to whether it should be remembered. It's the sort of music that was enjoyed by the University classes, therefore it was printed, therefore it has survived. And yet once you get past the mannered jollity of men who are clearly in period costume and singing in voices far posher than is good for them, there's just something about this tune. I've had it lodged in my head for 30 years now and it's not going anywhere, so I'm passing it on. Treat this with caution.

Canterbury Clerkes & London Serpent Trio - Sportive Little Trifler