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  • Purcell: Music for a While; O Solitude
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Purcell: Music for a While; O Solitude Import


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Audio CD, Import, October 16, 1992
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Product Details

  • Performer: Alfred Deller, William Christie, Wieland Kuijken, Roderick Skeaping
  • Composer: Henry Purcell
  • Audio CD (October 16, 1992)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B000027NRW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Plaint - Alfred Deller/Wieland Kuijken/William Christie/Roderick Skeaping
2. If Music Be The Food Of Love
3. I Attempt From Love's Sickness
4. Fairest Isle
5. Sweeter Than Roses
6. Not All My Torments
7. Thrice Happy Lovers
8. An Evening Hymn
9. From Rosy Bow'rs
10. O Lead Me To Some Peaceful Gloom
11. Retired From Any Mortal's Sight
12. Music For A While
13. Since From My Dear Astrea's Sight
14. O Solitude - Alfred Deller/Wieland Kuijken/William Christie/Robert Elliot/Jane Ryan

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Lumbroso on April 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This recording has moved me beyond words.

Certainly, Deller's voice has aged but he more than makes up in experience. His voice is still voluptuous, and its languid tones have nothing to envy the voice of a soprano.

While a few of the songs will be listened to with a distracted ear, other won't. For instance "The Plaint", which probably the most stunning song of this recital. The tempo is just right (which is rare for this piece, often overly slowed down), and Deller does not overdramatize the already sad text. "O Solitude" and "An Evening Hymn" (along with the title song) are the other two gems ... "An Evening Hymn" with it's beautiful ostinato, and light singing.

Something must be said for the other performers. While Deller's voice is the heart and soul of this recording, its quality is in no small part due to (younger) William Christie and Wieland Kuijken. I listened recently to Anne Sofie von Otter's renditions of "Music for a while" and "An Evening Hymn", and although her voice is clear, the tempi are wrong and the incompetence of the harpsichordist makes Christie's performance stand out all the more.

If you aren't prejudiced against counter-tenors (and if you haven't yet entered the Visse/Deller or Jacobs/Deller polemic-which I will *NOT* get sucked into), you will find be entranced by this recording.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2000
I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the previous review. Is is just astonishing that the mediocre Visse can even be compared to the great Deller. It is not that he himself was responsible for the turn of the tide on these "head voices" along the past XX century. It is not that Britten appreciated his art and created the role of Puck for him in A Midsummer's Night Dream. It is not that Dominique Visse's tessitura lies higher than Deller's. It is not that we are short of countertenors at this age (my personal favorite is David Daniels). But take the time to listen to this timbre, intonation, expresiveness and perfect phrasing in O solitude and judge for yourself. Hope to have done the right thing to put Deller where it belongs.
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Format: Audio CD
Deller, discovered by the composer Michael Tippett in 1943 when he was still singing in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, made his recording debut in March 1949, released on an HMV 78rpm C 3890, with two songs of Purcell, "Music for a while" and "If music be the food of love", then accompanied on harpsichord by Walter Bergmann and played in the realization of the figured bass by Tippett and Bergmann (it has been reissued on Alfred Deller: HMV Recordings, 1949-54). So it is fitting that these two songs should be sung again on - and the first one give its title to - one of Deller's most famous and popular recitals with the French Harmonia Mundi label of Bernard Coutaz, recorded thirty years later in April 1979 with two accompanists that weren't then quite as stellar as they later became, William Christie (harpsichord) and Wieland Kuijken (bass viol). It is fitting also that two more songs on this recital, The Plaint ("O let me weep", track 1) and the air from the opera Dioclesian "Since from my dear Astrea's Sight" (track 13), should be shared with the Purcell recital that, in 1954, opened Deller's recording career with his previous label, Vanguard/The Bach Guild, with a cast of accompanists that in those years wasn't then as stellar as it later became: the Harnoncourts husband and wife, the Leonhardts husband and wife, and Eduard Melkus (see my review of Alfred Deller Sings).

While the early recording with Walter Bergmann, with its piano-sounding harpsichord, is prehistory (someone has uploaded it on You Tube, playing direct from the 78rpm turntable!
Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 2001
While I agree that Dominique Visse and David James (hardly the 2 outstanding countertenors of our age anyway) cannot come close to the artistry and voice of Alfred Deller, I do think that this recording leaves a little to be desired as it appears to have been made not long before he died, therefore when he was in his sixties when most singers should have given up, Deller included I'm afraid. The agility in the upper registers, the sheer brilliance of tone, both are somewhat lacking, and often the result sounds slightly strained. I would probably recommend going for the HMV recordings, as these would show Deller right at the peak of his powers, although this recording would be a good comparison of his early and late singing, and changes in performance practice.
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