Purcell: Theatre Music, Vol. 1

Purcell: Theatre Music, Vol. 1

by Kevin Mallon
     
 

The performances on this disc of Henry Purcell's theatrical music by Toronto's energetic Aradia Ensemble are pleasant but not extraordinary. The novelty is the programming, which brings listeners closer than other releases to the unique quality of this music. Purcell's music for plays contained both pieces that are part of the actionSee more details below

Overview

The performances on this disc of Henry Purcell's theatrical music by Toronto's energetic Aradia Ensemble are pleasant but not extraordinary. The novelty is the programming, which brings listeners closer than other releases to the unique quality of this music. Purcell's music for plays contained both pieces that are part of the action and incidental music, often with French dance rhythms. He wrote straight opera and straight instrumental music, but what makes much of his music (such as the strangely named semi-operas) difficult to get a grip on for modern listeners is that it falls into an intermediate zone that doesn't really exist any longer. As a result, you typically get programs of either vocal or instrumental pieces in this repertory. Irish-Canadian conductor Kevin Mallon solves the problem with this set of excerpts from Purcell's music for four different plays, three of them including both vocal and instrumental pieces. This gives the listener an idea of the larger affinities among Purcell's pieces for a specific play. Is there a historical performance movement in theater? Some of the staggering sums spent each year on largely similar Shakespeare performances could probably be put to better use in producing Restoration dramas with Purcell's original music in place, and with dancers involved. Lacking that, this disc may be the next best thing. The sound is an irritant, with hollow echoes bouncing off the wall of a Toronto church that would have borne no aural resemblance whatsoever to the ambiance of the Drury Lane Theatre. The efforts of the otherwise able vocal soloists are especially damaged.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2008
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313014972
catalogNumber:
8570149
Rank:
381082

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Amphitryon, or, the Two Sosias, incidental music, Z. 572  - Henry Purcell  - Kevin Mallon  -  Aradia Ensemble  - Giles Tomkins  - Nicole Bower  - Andrea Jeffrey  - Michelle Kettrick  - Nicolaes Jansz Visscher
  2. Sir Barnaby Whigg, or, No Wit Like a Woman's, incidental music, Z. 589: Blow, Boreas, blow  - Henry Purcell  - Kevin Mallon  -  Aradia Ensemble  - Giles Tomkins  - Brian Duyn  - Nicolaes Jansz Visscher
  3. The Gordian Knot Unty'd, incidental music, Z. 597  - Henry Purcell  - Kevin Mallon  -  Aradia Ensemble  - Nicolaes Jansz Visscher
  4. Circe, incidental music, Z. 575  - Henry Purcell  - Kevin Mallon  -  Aradia Ensemble  - Giles Tomkins  - Peter Mahon  - Nicole Bower  - Brian Duyn  - Neil Aronoff  - Rosalind McArthur  - Nicolaes Jansz Visscher

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