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Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols [Hybrid SACD, SACD]

Jordi Savall Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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Jordi Savall is an exceptional figure in todays music world. For more than thirty years he has been devoted to the rediscovery and performance of neglected musical treasures as a soloist and director of his three ensembles. He has restored an essential repertoire to all those with ears to hear it. Except for the happy few who already revere it, the viola da gamba, is an instrument so refined ... Read more in Amazon's Jordi Savall Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Purcell: Fantasias for the Viols + Handel: Water Music Suites I and II, Music for the Royal Fireworks
Price For Both: £13.00

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Product details

  • Conductor: Jordi Savall
  • Composer: Henry Purcell
  • Audio CD (26 May 2008)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Alia Vox
  • ASIN: B0015KGJMC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,921 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Fantasia Upon One Note 3:06£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Fantasia #1 In 3 Parts 3:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Fantasia #2 In 3 Parts 2:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Fantasia #3 In 3 Parts 3:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Fantasia #4 In 4 Parts 3:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Fantasia #5 In 4 Parts 3:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Fantasia #6 In 4 Parts 4:06£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. In Nomine In 6 Parts 1:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Fantasia #7 In 4 Parts 4:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Fantasia #8 In 4 Parts 4:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Fantasia #9 In 4 Parts 5:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Fantasia #10 In 4 Parts 4:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Fantasia #11 In 4 Parts 3:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Fantasia #12 In 4 Parts 3:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. In Nomine In 7 Parts 3:44£0.99  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful CD for all listeners 14 July 2009
By William Burn VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
Again, I find I must write a review in two parts, one for the connoisseur of Baroque instrumental music, and one for the person who has come to this page not knowing very much about this sort of music at all. Part A is for the former, and part B, the latter.

A) Buy this disc without hesitation. Savall and his company of musicians are on first class form and you'd be hard pressed to find a better recording of this repertoire anywhere. The remastering is excellent, and the notes, while suffering slightly in translation, are illuminating. You will rate this as one of the best purchases you've made in a long time.

B) Buy this disc without hesitation. If you're not yet familiar with the sound of a viol consort (even in Purcell's day it was old-fashioned), you'll love this. It is much mellower than a string quartet, and even the fast, dance-like sections are not aggressive or strident, but beautiful and - with this ensemble especially - magically warm. What is remarkable, too, is the inventiveness of the music: the Fantasia upon one note, for example, has a single note held through the whole piece, yet it weaves and twists around it, creating an incredible effect. The Fantasias themselves are varied, at times plangent and sorrowful, at others dancing and joyful, and they reward listening to many times.

This really is a wonderful CD, and it will fit into almost any collection. If you're looking for music that is beautiful, reflective and inspiring, you can do no wrong with this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best music of Purcell 29 Mar 2014
By zenith
Format:Audio CD
As a young man Purcell wrote these pieces, which were probably never performed during his lifetime. The music is still a 100% written in pre-baroque, viol consort style. Purcell follows examples such as Byrd and Jenkins. He follows in the footsteps of Matthew Locke, though Purcell writes his fantasias in a more conservative style I believe. There are many pieces in g-minor, Purcell's favorite key. I think these pieces are among the best consort music ever written. Jordi Savall plays exceptionally well. It is absolutely my favorite of all Hesperion CDs together with the Holborne and Elizabethan music. Please buy this amazing CD and you can enjoy it for the next 20 years on a daily basis (if you don't lose it like I have).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure and Penetrating Music 15 Jun 2011
Format:Audio CD
Just like William Lawes' Consort Sets, this music is so pure and so well performed, one wonders how come we all have to live in such a deaf age, in which the most powerful notes had been pushed to the underground and even classical radio stations don't bother to stress that Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are only pupils of much greater masters living long before them.
One feels, it's not music for the masses, and yet one feels it should be heard by everyone. Anyway, Purcell was only 21 when he composed this material and he didn't ever bother to publish it! Incredible how talented the man was. Savall and his crew truly deserve the highest praise for this recording. Lovely cover and booklet accompany the masterpiece to sweeten your life even more. Indulge!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic value 21 Jun 2011
Format:MP3 Download
Like previous reviewers, I would recommend this to both the connoisseur and the curious. This recording represents fantastic value - an exquisite performance of Henry Purcell's beautiful Fantasias for Viols.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Masterwork for Viol Consort 26 Jun 2007
By Christopher McKoy - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Henry Purcell is arguably the greatest genius of the Baroque era that most people have still not heard of. To be sure, Bach is undeniably the greatest composer of the Baroque (and to many, the greatest composer in Western musical history), but Purcell can plausibly be compared with Handel and Scarlatti, the other two giants of Baroque music besides Bach. Purcell's short opera Dido and Aeneas is certainly the best opera of the latter half of the seventeenth century and the greatest English opera before Britten. Had he not died in 1695 at the early age of 35 (the same age Mozart was at his death), Purcell would surely be regarded as one of the greatest.

This recording features Henry Purcell's 1680 masterwork for viol consort, the Fantasias for Viol. Like Purcell's Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, the Fantasias feature a poignant chromaticism and continuous upward modulation that heightens the emotional power of the work in a way not entirely dissimilar to the Liebestod that concludes Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (prior to its widespread adoption in the early nineteenth century, only the murderous Renaissance prince and composer Carlo Gesualdo used chromaticism as extensively as Purcell did). Yet just as they look forward in time to post-romantic chromaticism, in their use of the viol consort the Fantasias look backward in time to the English renaissance, in which such composers as Mathew Locke wrote interesting music for viol consort, though no other piece can match the sublime profundity of Purcell's work. Purcell's was moreover to be the last work for viol consort as the viol was increasingly out of favor, having been replaced by the violin family on the continent long before the 1680s. (Italian music for virtuoso violin goes back to the early seventeenth century - see my "Listmania List" of some of this wonderful music.) By the mid eighteenth century the string quartet had eclipsed what was left of the viol consort's legacy.

Purcell's Fantasias are the most significant and rewarding chamber music written before the Classical age of Hadyn and Mozart's string quartets. They feature polyphonic writing that are worthy of Bach himself and like Bach's Art of Fugue and A Musical Offering, written seventy years after the Fantasias (the back of the CD mistakenly says that the Art of Fugue was the precedent for the Fantasias), the contrapuntal writing is brilliant, complex, and overflowing with inventive genius. But not only was writing for viol consort considered outmoded by the 1680s, counterpoint was also (alas) deemed old hat, and so perhaps aware that they would find no contemporary audience, Purcell did not even attempt to have his set of Fantasias published, a body of work made all the more incredible by the fact that they were written by a young man of only twenty years of age!

The heart of the work is Fantasia XII in Four Parts (track 14), itself a miniature masterpiece. It is here that Purcell pulls out all the emotional stops and during which an almost cathartic climax is reached with the use of continuous modulation, a practice that continues with the wonderful final piece of the set, In Nomine in seven parts (track 15), whose theme is a church choral. Nonetheless, the In Nomine was not intended to be the final piece, but rather as an introduction to additional Fantasias that Purcell had drafted in 1683 but which were unfortunately not completed.

I think this the best available recording of the Fantasias, which are truly brought to life with a gripping performance, which is particularly refreshing (and necessary) given the fact that viol music can easily sound dull and bland given the rather `hollow' and homogeneous sound of the viol vis-à-vis the violin family. But Jordi Savall achieves just the right blend of sound with the instruments to capitalize on the haunting character of the viol at its best to express the melancholic mood that characterizes much of this work (most of the Fantasias are in a minor key). However, one relatively minor complaint about this performance is that Savall has the annoying habit (on this and most of his other recordings) of humming along with the music (like Glenn Gould) and also of making odd and rather obscene-sounding noises that can be somewhat distracting. But given the overall power and beauty of the performance, this should not deter the potential listener.
6 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First SACD 23 July 2009
By John H. Gruver - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
So, we like Jordi and I thought I'd try him out on SACD since I'm sportin' a brand new Oppo BDP-83... this disc is unbelievably good... seriously.
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