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Comment: 1995 Astree E 8536 Import. Disc, case and artwork are in excellent condition.
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  • Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols, 1680 - Hespèrion XX
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Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols, 1680 - Hespèrion XX Import


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Audio CD, Import, March 14, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Henry Purcell (Composer), Hespèrion XX, Jordi Savall (Viol & Direction)
  • Audio CD (March 14, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Astree
  • ASIN: B00004R7PD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,846 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia upon one note
2. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 3 parts, No. 1
3. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 3 parts, No. 2
4. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 3 parts, No. 3
5. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 4
6. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 5
7. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 6
8. Fantasias (15) for viols: In nomine in 6 parts
9. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 7
10. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 8
11. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 9
12. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 10
13. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 11
14. Fantasias (15) for viols: Fantasia in 4 parts, No. 12
15. Fantasias (15) for viols: In nomine in 7 parts

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christopher McKoy on June 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Henry Purcell is arguably the greatest genius of the Baroque era that most people have still not heard of. To be sure, Bach is undeniably the greatest composer of the Baroque (and to many, the greatest composer in Western musical history), but Purcell can plausibly be compared with Handel and Scarlatti, the other two giants of Baroque music besides Bach. Purcell's short opera Dido and Aeneas is certainly the best opera of the latter half of the seventeenth century and the greatest English opera before Britten. Had he not died in 1695 at the early age of 35 (the same age Mozart was at his death), Purcell would surely be regarded as one of the greatest.

This recording features Henry Purcell's 1680 masterwork for viol consort, the Fantasias for Viol. Like Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, the Fantasias feature a poignant chromaticism and continuous upward modulation that heightens the emotional power of the work in a way not entirely dissimilar to the Liebestod that concludes Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (prior to its widespread adoption in the early nineteenth century, only the murderous Renaissance prince and composer Carlo Gesualdo used chromaticism as extensively as Purcell did). Yet just as they look forward in time to post-romantic chromaticism, in their use of the viol consort the Fantasias look backward in time to the English renaissance, in which such composers as Mathew Locke wrote interesting music for viol consort, though no other piece can match the sublime profundity of Purcell's work. Purcell's was moreover to be the last work for viol consort as the viol was increasingly out of favor, having been replaced by the violin family on the continent long before the 1680s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
While the string quartet as we know it today was an invention of the Classic through the works of Haydn and Mozart (and then Beethoven), people have been playing together in ensembles of stringed instruments for many centuries. The predecessor of the violin, viola, violoncello (cello), and double-bass were the viols. There were many different kinds of viols because they were not as standardized as the violin family and evolved in various areas of Europe over time. Ensembles of such instruments were often known as consorts. They were played by private groups for their own enjoyment, for public display, and the richest consorts were for court functions.

However, by the young twenty-one year old Henry Purcell turned his genius to writing these works in 1680, the idea of a consort of viols had gone out of fashion and the last publications for those ensembles had already been printed in 1660. These are among the greatest works of the type ever written. They are magnificently contrapuntal and achieve very great things. When you listen to them, think polyphony rather than trying to hear chord progressions and you will be able to appreciate them in their glory. Sometimes I just cannot believe the wonderfully biting dissonances Purcell achieves in these works and how they flow into the sweetest consonances.

The viol has a much reedier sound and different color palette than the violin family even though they both are bowed string instruments. This group, Hespèrion XX, is a very skilled and intelligent consort that brings out the music in these works beautifully well.

This is a disk that should not be missed because of the importance of these works, their unique place in music history, and the skill of the musicians playing these fabulous works.
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