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“This third and last volume of Purcell's non- theatrical secular songs consummates a most rewarding survey of 87 songs with more of the same: a vocal palette of six singers who are by now so steeped in the nuances of Purcell's strains that even the slightest offering sparkles with something memorable. The treasure is shared between Barbara Bonney and Susan Gritton who complement each other superbly. Gritton, becoming more refined in characterisation and tonal colour by the day, is allotted the free-style and dramatic pieces while to Bonney's fluid and sensual melisma is designated the more strophic or cantabile settings. Lovely Albina's comeashore is one of the composer's most mature creations, tantalisingly hinting at a new, tautly designed and classically balanced type of song. This work, If music be the food of love (the best of the three versions) and I came, I saw are striking examples of how exceptionally Bonney negotiates Purcell's skipping and curling contours and makes these songs sound even finer creations than we previously thought. From silent shades ('Bess of Bedlam') is Purcell's quintessential mad-song and Gritton has the measure of it all the way; packed full of incident, imagery and musical detail, her narration is clear and finely judged, reporting the tale with irony and change of colour. The CD is beautifully documented.”
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