The greatest countertenor of today, Andreas Scholl returns to the Decca label with a recording of vocal jewels by the great baroque composer, Henry Purcell. This is Andreas Scholl's first ever recording of the music of Purcell and his uniquely beautiful voice is perfectly suited to the English composer's plangent melodies. The album includes pieces written for the stage, the church and the private chamber, some of which Andreas Scholl has sung in recital for many years, and some he sings for the first time.
Andreas Scholl's long-standing collaborators, ‘Accademia Bizantina’ bring out the Italian influence in Purcell's instrumental writing, and contribute orchestral items to the programme. 'O Solitude' is Andreas Scholl's first Decca album since the chart-topping ‘Handel: Arias For Senesino' in 2006.
The album includes the well known lament 'When I Am Laid In Earth' - recently voted the UK's No.1 favourite aria in a BBC Radio 3 poll - written for the character of Dido in Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas.
Andreas Scholl is joined for two duets by French countertenor Christophe Dumaux.
“Ethereal yet visceral, Scholl's voice is the dream vehicle for Purcell...Stefano Montanari coaxes thrilling playing from Accademia Bizantina, who dance and swagger, throb and pulsate with true Latin passion. Their continuo realisations - here delicate and intimate, there audaciously jazzy - are an unceasing delight.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2011 *****
“that famously otherworldly tone [is] often breathtakingly in evidence...His decision to tackle Dido's lament has generated controversy: in fact, his performance is extraordinarily haunting...O Dive Custos is arguably the disc's high point. The Academia Bizantina, meanwhile, are on fine form for Stefano Montanari” The Guardian, 13th January 2011 ****
“Scholl understands the importance of words and remains the countertenor of choice: it’s not so much the intelligence and grace that make his artistry so instantly recognisable, as the hypnotically soothing quality of his voice...Among the many joys of this exceptional recital are the accompaniments by Accademia Bizantina.” Financial Times, 21st January 2011 *****
“Few counter-tenors maintain the width of repertoire or vocal acumen of this artist...his Cold Song from “King Arthur” [is] a shivering, juddering triumph, and the entire package pleases.” The Times, 22nd January 2011 ****
“his way with words has strengthened...the two countertenors combine marvellously in O dive custos” Gramophone Magazine, March 2011
“There's no doubt about the theatrical intent driving Scholl's interpretations and the flamboyant work of Italian period instrument band, Accademia Bizantina. The latter's lively continuo group and multi-hued sounds certainly catch the full flavour...few singers...can match him for style and intelligent musicianship in this repertoire.” Classic FM Magazine, March 2011 ****
“[The disc] contains much in the way of sympathetic vocal and instrumental colouring, not to mention some very fine singing and playing, full-stop...Stefano Montanari's stylish violin-playing [in Fairest Isle], as elsewhere, is a treat in itself...Scholl [brings] an animated, urgent quality to his performance, the tone rich and resonant, the diction razor-sharp.” International Record Review, April 2011