Brotherly Love Suite: Virtue in Danger. Cantata:
By Silver Thames' Flow'ry Side. Sonata for Violin and Continuo. Symphonie
Songs: Is Innocence so void of cares? When Daphne first her Shepherd saw.
Cantata: the Beauteous Daphne. Morpheus Thou gentle God.
Sprezzatura, with Evelyn
Etcetera KTC 1232
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Daniel Purcell did not die until 1717, outliving his famous brother
by over twenty years. Overshadowed inevitably by Henry, whom he championed
vigorously when the fickle public had turned to all things Italian, this
CD reveals Daniel as no mean composer.
It is a quite brilliant sequence of theatre pieces, vocal and instrumental
items with Evelyn Tubb irresistibly fresh, knowing and characterful,
and in marvellous voice throughout. She is supported by seven expert baroque
specialist players headed by Julia Bishop (violin), the whole produced
by Anthony Rooley, who also contributes the introduction, and recorded in
what must have been a serendipitous venue, Forde Abbey in Dorset.
Although Evelyn Tubb's diction is good, there is no question but that the
provision of all the words adds immeasurably to the enjoyment. She never
misses a sly innuendo nor fails to underline the sometimes histrionic emotions
deployed shamelessly by deserted lovers. The beauteous Daphne is humorous
and virtuosic, with a brilliant violin obligatto and By silver
Thames' flow'ry side is an impressive cantata, possibly the earliest
in the English style. Morpheus, thou gentle God gives her the opportunity
to go over the top with jealousy in a 'mad-song', a popular genre at the
Steven Devine has a harpsichord solo, David Hatcher brings weight and dignity
to his contributions on viola da gamba, and the recorder players too get
their chances to shine. It is sometimes a little hard to determine whether
one's intense enjoyment is due more to what is actually on the printed pages,
or is more dependent on the imaginative embellishments brought to bear. These
are indivisible in music of the period, and Rooley applauds the 'inspired
improvisations' of Julia Bishop in the violin sonata and 'the interaction
of performers, composers and auditors which 'is what Sprezzatura is
all about'. He can't wait for more, and I endorse that sentiment.
The presentation is thorough in every detail and well illustrated. The recording
is ideal for bringing these intense and often moving performances right into
your living room. Top rating, without question!
Peter Grahame Woolf