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Purcell: Essential Purcell Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, October 1, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 22-APR-1997

Amazon.com

The "Essential" Purcell? Well, you could get a bunch of critics to argue about that for a few days, but in the meantime, here is a sampler of highlights from the King's Consort's three admirable Purcell series: the Complete Odes and Welcome Songs, Complete Anthems and Services, and Complete Secular Solo Songs. There are, of course, some of Purcell's most-performed pieces (which probably are "essential"): Dido's Lament from Dido and Aeneas, "Sound the trumpet" from Come, ye sons of Art, Rejoice in the Lord alway (the "Bell Anthem," named for the string figure at the opening that sounds like pealing bells), the gently patriotic "Fairest isle, all isles excelling" (sung by a miscast James Bowman), and a selection from the funeral music for Queen Mary. There are also some delightful surprises--particularly among the little-known secular songs and church music. The plaintive "O fair Cedaria" gets a lovely performance by Barbara Bonney (a singer not usually associated with Purcell); tenor Rogers Covey-Crump (possibly the ideal high tenor for Purcell) sings the enchanting "If music be the food of love"; the church anthems "Let mine eyes run down with tears" and "Remember not, O Lord, our offences" have some startling harmonies as daring as any Monteverdi ever wrote. If you're unfamiliar with Purcell, this reasonably priced disc is a good place to start exploring without a big initial investment. --Matthew Westphal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol. 5: Welcome, Welcome Glorious Morn. Symphony And Opening Chorus
  2. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol. 3: Be Welcome Then, Great Sir
  3. Complete Secular Solo Songs Vol.1: Oh, Fair Cedaria
  4. The Choir Of The King's Consort: Hear My Prayer, O Lord
  5. Great Baroque Arias: When I Am Laid In Earth ('Dido's Lament')
  6. Complete Anthems And Services Vol.1: Let Mine Eyes Run Down With Tears (Part 1)
  7. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol.4: The Sparrow And The Gentle Dove
  8. Complete Secular Solo Songs Vol.1: If Music Be The Food Of Love (First Setting)
  9. Complete Anthems And Services Vol.5: Rejoice In The Lord Always ('The Bell Anthem')
  10. Complete Anthems And Services Vol.3: Hosanna To The Highest
  11. Complete Anthems And Services Vol.7: Thou Knowest, Lord, The Secrets Of Our Hearts
  12. Mr. Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures: Fairest Isle, All Isles Excelling
  13. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol.6: Mark, How Readily Each Pliant String
  14. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol.8: Sound The Trumpet
  15. Complete Secular Solo Songs Vol.3: She Loves And She Confesses Too
  16. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol.8: O How Blest Is The Isle
  17. Complete Anthems And Services Vol.3: Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences
  18. Complete Anthems And Services Vol. 11: An Evening Hymn
  19. Complete Church Music Vol.2: Vouchsafe, O Lord, To Keep Us This Day
  20. Complete Odes And Welcome Songs Vol.2: With Rapture Of Delight... Hail Bright Cecilia


Product Details

  • Performer: Henry Purcell, New College Choir Oxford, King's Consort, Robert King, Roy Goodman, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 1, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: HYPERION
  • ASIN: B000002ZDU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,992 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If anyone has benefitted from the reversion in the last three or so decades to period instruments and historical reconstruction, it is Henry Purcell. Before, he was merely great, the peerless word-setter in the English language, a virtuoso of boundless range, a professional composer whose offical commissions were always imbued with personality and invention. But period instrumentation has added to this a greater depth, an other-worldly texture of sound. With his intricate, multi-part vocal writing, his preference for low, rumbling instruments such as the bass viol and the strange and remarkable theorbo, as well as his often sombre and low-key subject matter and treatment, Purcell creates a round, glowing, humming sound as pregnantly full as dub reggae.
This has an extraordinary effect on the listener. Whereas Bach, with his mathematical abstractions, sounds universal and timeless, Purcell's music takes the listener back 300 years, back to different ways of thinking about, feeling about and addressing things we still think etc. about today - death, love, friendship. The emotion is timeless, but the music's beauty is alien, THEIRS, hence its preciousness.
A lot of intelligence has gone into the unity of this compilation, beginning with two Welcomes (to the dawn and to the listener, in this case a King), and ending with thoughts of evening, death and a Baroque 'Thank you for the music'. These are bright, fanfare-like works, but the predominant mood is slow, ruminative, quiet.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc collects some of the highlights from Robert King's monumental anthology of Purcell's music - 19 volumes of songs, odes, services and anthems; plus additional discs featuring solo songs and duets. This disc is a perfect introduction to Purcell for those new to baroque. It is also a help to those who are familiar with Purcell but can't afford to buy the entire anthology, and thus have to select the volumes they most want. Helpfully, the booklet lists all of King's Purcell recordings with detailed information on what they contain. I confess, I myself don't own all of them. But on the basis of the ones I do own I can safely assert that Mr. King is one of the best interpreters of Purcell's music; and that his musicians and soloists turn in performances which are unlikely to be soon bettered. Many of the performers make repeated appearances throughout the series, helping King to knit together a consistent and homogeneous presentation of some of the best baroque music in the world. The extraordinary James Bowman is present in virtually every volume. So are such well-known English baroque performers as Gillian Fisher and Michael George. Frequently encountered are Rogers Covey-Crump and Charles Daniels, both of The Hilliard fame. Some of the less frequent participants, however, are not to be slighted. The sweet-voiced high tenor Mark Padmore appears in a couple of pieces here and there, but leaves an indelible imprint on the entire series by singing the glorious "Odes and Welcome Songs" finale "O how blest is the isle" from the ode Why Are All the Muses Mute (vol. 8 - my favorite). Luckily, this wonderful piece is included on this disc.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Absolutely beautiful baroque music! The arrangament, singing and instrumentation is superb. It is too bad that Henry Purcell is not as widely known as Bach, because he should be recognized equally well."The Sparrow and the Gentle dove" is alone worth the price of the album! I can not stop playing it!
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Format: Audio CD
Before listening to this recording, I was skeptical of claims that Henry Purcell was a great composer, much less the greatest composer that England had ever produced. Robert King and the performers on "Essential Purcell" make a fine case for Henry Purcell's worth. I agree with what the music fan from Charlottesville had to say about this CD, and have only a few remarks to add. First, Mr. King's taste in selecting from Purcell's enourmous oeuvre contributes, for me, as much to the value of this CD as the high quality of the individual performances. The included excerpts cover a range of expression than I found astonishing, given my experience with a few previously heard recordings of focused portions of Purcell's work. Second, listeners not familiar with this composer might want to know that Purcell is one of those whose merit is not so much in producing "absolute music" (although he is marvelously creative) as in producing music that empowers narrative content. Some ability to identify with Christian faith, Restoration patriotism, romantic classicism, etc. is needed to appreciate these works to their full extent.
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Format: Audio CD
Whenever Hyperion releases a sampler CD, it is invariably of the highest quality. On this disc, they have put together nearly 80 minutes of the best Purcell tracks yet preserved, all taken from their vast collection of Purcell recordings and all under the direction of the multi-talented Robert King. Each track is a treasure unto itself. The list of soloists reads like a "Who's Who" of great names in Early Music- special mention must go to countertenors Michael Chance and James Bowman, who bring their own inimitable sparkle to solo songs and to the brilliant duet "Sound the Trumpet." There could be no better introduction to Purcell than this disc. It really is the finest recorded Purcell available!
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