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King Arthur [Import]

Henry Purcell , John Eliot Gardiner , English Baroque Soloists , Gillian Fisher , Elisabeth Priday , Gilian Ross , Jennifer Smith , Paul Elliott Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: English Baroque Soloists, Gillian Fisher, Elisabeth Priday, Gilian Ross, Jennifer Smith, et al.
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Henry Purcell
  • Audio CD (May 2, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Warner Music France
  • ASIN: B000005ED3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. King Arthur: 1. Overture
2. King Arthur: 2. Air
3. King Arthur: 3. Overture
4. King Arthur: 4. Woden, first to thee - 5. The White Horse Neigh'd Aloud - To Woden Thanks We Render
5. King Arthur: 6. The Lot Is Cast
6. King Arthur: 7. Brave Souls
7. King Arthur: 8. I Call You All To Woden's Hall
8. King Arthur: 9. Come If You Dare
9. King Arthur: 10. Hither, This Way
10. King Arthur: ll. Let Not A Moonbeam Elf
See all 25 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. King Arthur: 29. Two Daughters Of This Aged Stream
2. King Arthur: 30. Passacaglia - How Happy The Lover - Ritornello - For Love Ev'ry Creature
3. King Arthur: 31. Fourth Act Tune: Air
4. King Arthur: 32. Trumpet Tune
5. King Arthur: Ye Blust'ring Brethern
6. King Arthur: Symphony
7. King Arthur: 35 A. Song Tune 35 B. Round Thy Coast
8. King Arthur: 36. For Folded Flocks
9. King Arthur: 37. Ritornello - Your Hay It Is Mow'd
10. King Arthur: Fairest Isle
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, but just slightly outclassed May 17, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I own this recording but was loaned a copy of the William Christie/Les Arts Florisants CD. Although my review is not complete, I hope to give some guidance by comparing this recording with the Christie, which appears to be the top contender.

Both are so good as to make it difficult to have a clear preference, but I give the Christie the edge, for its slightly more natural approach (also rather more realistic audio), and his superb soprano, Véronique Gens (outstanding in "Fairest Isle"); on the other hand, I like some of the male singers in the Gardiner version better. I'd characterize Les Arts Florisants as sounding as if they're more involved (underline that), in both the emotional highs and lows. They sound relaxed without slackness, while the English Baroque Soloists have more decorum without stuffiness. The latter tend to punch out the musical line with more accents and more staccato, but with an effect that occasionally verges on phony. Gardiner's group performs with a little more precise orchestral ensemble. Both adopt similar (peppy) tempi. Christie employs a noticeably lower pitch. The final chaconne in the Christie seems more festive and conclusive than Gardiner's, aided by a better balance between the strings and other instruments.

In sum, the Gardiner is a fine performance; but do not despair that it has been discontinued; the Christie is better, if only by a little. Purcell - King Arthur / Gens, McFadden, Piau, S. Waters, J. Best, Padmore, Paton, Salomaa, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good recording of British baroque music May 7, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Purcell is a composer well worth listening to. I wouldn't list _King Arthur_ as a "must-have" among Purcell's compositions, but this recording is still a nice addition to one's collection, especially at its budget price. _King Arthur's_ most famous song, of course, is "Fairest Isle", and it's sung gorgeously on this recording. That one song is almost worth the price of the recording. Disc 1 has a running time of 51:45 and Disc 2 has a running time of 39:38. John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists give a well-done, polished performance. I have never been disappointed in any of their recordings, and I have quite a few. Especially if you don't know much about opera or classical music, this would be a good recording to listen to. There's nothing at all intimidating about this recording. I've read the reviews for William Christie's take on _King Arthur_, and I'm sure it's good (I have several recordings by Christie, and he is great.) The main reason to recommend this recording is that it's less expensive than the Christie version.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Myth and Music Meet January 29, 2002
Format:Audio CD
PuRcell here reaches the level of mythology. He creates a new myth of thE British nation. He uses Arthur, Merlin and all the old beliefs attached to those in order to show how the Christian Britons vanquished the pagan Saxons and created the British nation. This is essential under Queen Mary II to erase all the bad feelings that had accumulated under the Stuart kinds, who have been deprived of their crown, and Cromwell's Commonwealth. The unity of the nation and the legitimacy of the new dynasty can only be established by this new mythology. Just this is an achievement and makes this opera a masterpiece. But it is also a musical masterpiece. We could study every single part of it and show how marvellous it is, creative and innovative. The piece I prefer above all is the third act with the frozen people and the defeat of this frost that has been cast on the world by the black magic of the Saxons by the love of Cupid who little by little revives the frozen people and brings them back to life just like spring comes after winter. The music here is of an unreachable beauty that translates into notes and singing the very core of the dramatic situation. That's when music is no longer an embellishment but becomes a dramatic element of its own.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purcell's King Arthur December 16, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Purcell's opera King Arthur is superbly brought to life by this excellent recording. The English Baroque Players (with period instruments) play beautifully and each of the vocal soloists is excellent. What struck me most, was the variety of dynamics, which along with the character of the music come across very well.
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