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Russell Oberlin sings Blow & Purcell
Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell
The Spanish Friar or The Double Discovery: Whilst I with grief, Z610
What a sad fate is mine, Z428
Strike the Viol (from Come Ye Sons of Art, Z323)
Hark! The Echoing Air (from The Fairy Queen, Z629)
Love, thou canst hear, tho' thou art blind, Z396
Ye gentle spirits of the air (from The Fairy Queen, Z629)
Let us dance (from Prophetess or The History of Dioclesian, Z627)
Sylvia, now your scorn give over, Z420
Ah! how sweet it is to love (from Tyrannic Love or The Royal Martyr, Z613)
I love and I must ('Bell Barr'), Z382
Music for a while, Z583
Fly swift ye hours, Z369
Turn then thine eyes, Z425
Sweeter than Roses (from Pausanius, the Betrayer of his Country, Z585)
O how happy's he, Z403
Lovely Albina's come ashore, Z394
An Evening Hymn 'Now that the sun hath veiled his light', Z193
Rare early recordings, 1953-54
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Purcell & Blow: Odes & Songs
There is no record of how Purcell's unprecedented youthful genius was received by his contemporaries, though it seems logical that it must have caused considerable wonder in the musical world centred around Westminster. The reality of London musical life was in fact difficult, frenetic, and grossly underfunded, and, along with the whole city, was thrown into confusion with the outbreak of the plague, the war with the Dutch and the catastrophic fire of London. Suffice it to say that a lifelong friendship developed with John Blow, who relinquished his post as organist at Westminster Abbey to the 20-year old Purcell in 1679.
Blow's music in the Ode on Purcell's death is probably the most coherent melodious and inventive, outside his beloved Church music. It is also his most Purcellian. The choice of two countertenor voices was fundamental in this respect, and this conscious evocation of the Purcellian sound world is extended in the use of the two recorders, stressing both the funerary and other-worldly associations of the instrument. With this collaboration in memory of Purcell however, he achieves the highest level of expression. Early death, in his time was an unremarkable commonplace, and Dryden and Blow are deploring something rather different, the catastrophe of losing a friend who represented both their own hopes, and the energy and potential of English music in full flood.
“The fluency of expression and rich tone of the countertenors Carlos Mena and Damien Guillon combine to bring animation and affection to John Blow’s Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell” The Telegraph, 22nd October 2010 ****
“the performances are lush, sensual without straying into anachronistic mannerisms of gimmickry...Carlos Mena and Damien Guillon, whose voices are wonderfully well matched, are both at their best in intimate chamber music and they clearly relish the by turns weaving and angular lines of Blow anmd Purcell.” International Record Review, March 2011
“Mena and Guillon both sound entirely at ease with Dryden's eloquent English and the musical moods to illustrate literary illusions are captured poignantly...the recorders blend sensitively with the voices and it is a breath of fresh air to hear the simple three-piece continuo team of viol, theorbo and keyboard keeping things simple, tasteful and stylish.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011
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Music of Henry Purcell
The Complete Vanguard Recordings Volume 2
Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), John Whitworth (counter-tenor),
Christopher Taylor (recorder), Richard Taylor (recorder), Anne Shuttleworth (cello) Walter Bergmann (harpsichord)
Dido and Aeneas
Mary Thomas (soprano), Honor Sheppard (soprano), Ellen Dales (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Choir and Orchestra, Alfred Deller
Hail! Bright Cecilia (Ode for St Cecilia's Day 1692), Z328
April Cantelo (soprano), Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Peter Salmon (counter-tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone), John Frost (bass), George Eskdale (solo trumpet), Leonard Friedman (violin), Eli Goren (violin), Richard Taylor (treble recorder), Stanley Taylor (treble recorder), Peter Graeme (oboe), Edward Selwyn (oboe), Philip Jones (trumpet), Denis Clift (trumpet), Alan Taylor (tympani), Anna Shuttleworth (cello and basso continuo), Francis Baines (cello and basso continuo), Denis Vaughan (harpsichord)
Ambrosian Singers / Kalmar Chamber Orchestra of London, Sir Michael Tippett
Welcome to all the pleasures (from Ode for St Cecilia's Day 1683), Z339
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), April Cantelo (soprano), Eileen McLoughlin (soprano), Gerald English (tenor), Owen Grundy (baritone), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Kalmar Chamber Orchestra, Alfred Deller
Come ye sons of art (Ode for Queen Mary's birthday, 1694), Z 323
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Mark Deller (counter-tenor), Mary Thomas (soprano), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Choir and Orchestra, Alfred Deller
My beloved spake, Z28
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), April Cantelo (soprano), Gerald English (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Kalmar Orchestra of London, Alfred Deller
Rejoice in the Lord alway ('The Bell Anthem'), Z49
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Mary Thomas (soprano), Honor Sheppard (soprano), Max Worthley (tenor), Robert Tear (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Orchestra, Alfred Deller
Musical Concepts is pleased to announce the second release in one of the most ambitious early music reissue projects of all time — Alfred Deller: The Complete Vanguard Recordings. The series brings together every recording made by Alfred Deller – as solo countertenor, ensemble member of the Deller Consort, and conductor – for the legendary, enterprising Vanguard record label. These recordings created a sensation with their initial release, and have influenced and inspired three generations of music lovers, from casual listeners to the top tiers of performing artists and scholars.
Music of England's greatest composer was a speciality of Alfred Deller. His artistry was particularly welll suited to Purcell and Deller's role in establishing the greatness of this music cannot be exaggerated.
This collection includes iconic performances of solo vocal works with groundbreaking recordings of operas, sacred music and theatical works which Deller performs and conducts. Being at the forefront of the re-birth of the early music movement, he naturally attracted many of the other supreme artists of the time, all of whom went on to become great figures in their own right.
“This second volume of Vanguard's reissued recordings of Alfred Deller and his consort comprises works by Purcell, the composer most closely associated with Deller, and consists of six CDs, well packaged and with a CD-Rom giving access to more detailed information. The first two present a mixed programme of songs, duets and instrumental pieces. The third has a complete performance of Dido and Aeneas conducted by Deller and recorded in 1965. The remaining discs include the Odes to St Cecilia, Come, ye Sonsof Art and music for the Masque in Dioclesian, the whole collection ending with Blow's Ode on theDeath of Mr Henry Purcell.
In his middle and later years Deller habitually lightened notes above the centre of his range, so that his style became somewhat predictable and the evenness of his production somewhat impaired. That accounts for main differences between these later performances of such 'signature' pieces as 'Music for a While' and 'Sweeter than Roses': the purity of tone, the extraordinary resonance of lower and middle notes, the technical skill and sensitivity of his singing all remain. As a conductor, he had difficulties, and it cannot be claimed that the Dido is a success.
Some stodgy speeds and sluggish rhythms, a pantomime coven of witches, a Dido lacking nobility of tone and an Aeneas out of oratorio make it hard for other contributions (most notably Helen Watts's sorceress) to have their due effect. Still, no doubt the best way of avoiding disappointment is to be prepared for it.
That Deller could conduct well, holding his place along with the highly professional Harnoncourt in his Dioclesian and the very personally involved Tippett in Hail, bright Cecilia, is evident in the Odes. Stylish playing by George Malcolm and other instrumentalists (including the young violinist Neville Marriner) gives further pleasure. The album celebrated not only Deller himself but his generation who did so much to bring Purcell out of the text books, the full range of his genius revealed.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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