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Anthony Rooley writes: ‘In the mid-1970s this humble lute-player had theatrical pretensions! I realized quite early on in my performing career that audiences generally needed more help to “get inside” the beautiful obscure music I was discovering, and if their appetite was to be fostered, a new dimension in the manner of presentation had to be found.
‘Quite unexpectedly, I discovered it in some of the most obscure music I had hitherto worked with – duets and dialogues from the mouths of nymphs and shepherds, created for a court circle of nobility who thoroughly enjoyed adopting the manners and playfulness of what was regarded as suitable for “pastoral customs” from the ancient world of Arcadia.
‘To revive this art-form meant urging my singers to adopt appropriate characters – lamenting nymphs, raunchy shepherds, hard-done by Goddesses or erotic Gods – and done with a degree of theatricality not yet seen in the “early music revival” of the 1970s. Performances were noted for their strait-laced manner – but now we had to step out and “be” someone, be playful and passionate. Early music was never quite the same after that!’
This collection gathers together some of the most delectable of 17th century duets both from England as well as from Italy. Any Emma Kirkby recording is an event, and this reissue, making its first appearance on CD, will be no exception. Also issued on CD for the first time is Amorous Dialogues, the companion recording to Pastoral Dialogues. The extensive booklet includes the original notes, a new introduction by Anthony Rooley and full texts and translations.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.