Search - Henry Purcell, Emma Kirkby, Charles Daniels :: Purcell: Odes for St. Cecilia's Day - Music for Queen Mary / Taverner Consort

Purcell: Odes for St. Cecilia's Day - Music for Queen Mary / Taverner Consort
Henry Purcell, Emma Kirkby, Charles Daniels
Purcell: Odes for St. Cecilia's Day - Music for Queen Mary / Taverner Consort
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2

Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort, Choir, and Players have made some of the finest Purcell recordings to have appeared since the period-instrument revival began; unfortunately, most of those discs had been out of p...  more »

     
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Amazon.com essential recording
Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort, Choir, and Players have made some of the finest Purcell recordings to have appeared since the period-instrument revival began; unfortunately, most of those discs had been out of print for years. Happily, Virgin has reissued some of Parrott's best work on this reasonably priced two-for-one release. The performances aren't just exemplary, they're something of a landmark: in them Parrott pioneered the now-standard practice of using high tenors rather than falsettists on some of Purcell's low-lying "countertenor" parts. (One example is "Sound the trumpet," a duet for "high" and "low" countertenors from Purcell's ode Come, ye sons of art, sung by falsettist Timothy Wilson and high tenor John Mark Ainsley.) Excellent performances of the Funeral Sentences and Funeral Music for Queen Mary are here as well, but the centerpiece of this set is Hail, bright Cecilia!, the longest and most colorful of Purcell's odes in praise of the patron saint of music. There is some serious competition here--Paul McCreesh and Philippe Herreweghe have made superb recordings of this work--but Parrott edges them out. For example, alone among the ode's conductors on record, Parrott interpolates an organ solo amidst all of the text's praise of the organ (an instrument St. Cecilia was thought to have invented); he also provides appealing variety by using 12 different soloists (as Purcell did at the premiere). Those soloists are an impressive lot--they include Emma Kirkby, David Thomas, Paul Elliott and Charles Daniels (gently enchanting in the tenor duet "In vain the am'rous Flute"), and the Hilliard Ensemble's Rogers Covey-Crump, who gives an extraordinary rendition of the famous and fearsomely difficult air "'Tis Nature's Voice." --Matthew Westphal
 

CD Reviews

Awesome! A high tenor paradise
gks5q@virginia.edu | 07/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a wonderful recording! The lineup of soloists is simply stunning. There are many of them: practically a different person for each air. This achieves admirable variety, and each voice is a pleasure to hear. I'm a big fan of hautes-contre, so I was really happy to discover that they get to sing most of the "alto" airs on this set. The highlight of this recording is my all time favorite Purcell air 'Tis Nature's Voice, stunningly sung here by Rogers Covey-Crump. I think I've heard just about every 'Tis Nature's Voice ever recorded (except for Rene Jacobs, who I wouldn't really want to hear), and Covey-Crump undeniably gets the most out of it. But my favorite remains Mark Padmore on the Herreweghe recording of Hail! Bright Cecilia. Herreweghe uses fewer soloists (Padmore sings all tenor and half of all countertenor parts), and slower tempi that, in my view, help the singers' intonation. But all in all, the choice ends up being a matter of taste. There is no rational basis to prefer one of these two recordings over the other: both are wonderful."
Unrivalled recording......uncommon brilliance.
William | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The mind boggles when listening to Purcell. Certainly his was a genius that could vie with any great contrapuntist. It is sad that he had to go so early in his life. But then I guess we wouldn't have seen the rise and rise of Handel.

Having said that, this recording is a marvellous one, one of uncommon brilliance I might add. It does not represent a summary of his work and style, even if restricted to just his vocal music, such was the originality and fertility of his invention. But it is revealing of the enormity of his command of music. Why this composer isn't as well-known as Mozart or Bach, or yes even Handel, I will never know.

I assure all that the quality of these recordings is unrivalled. Careful attention is paid to detail, and a first-rate line up of soloists ensures a world-class performance. I give this recording 5 stars out of five, for a stunning example of excellence and high standards."
Excellent
R. Albin | Ann Arbor, Michigan United States | 12/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an excellent set of performances of these Purcell gems. The soloists, choir, and instrumentalists are all first rate. The infrequently performed funeral and birthday music for Queen Mary is a real treat. Recommended strongly."