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Purcell: Theatre Music [Box set, Collector's Edition]

Henry Purcell, Emma Kirkby Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 23.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Purcell: Theatre Music + The Complete Secular Solo Songs of Henry Purcell + Purcell: The Complete Odes and Welcome Songs
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Academy of Ancient Music
  • Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
  • Composer: Henry Purcell
  • Audio CD (10 May 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Collector's Edition
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0001Y4JHA
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,783 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great English Baroque Music 29 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
Aside from his hymn settings, this was my proper introduction to Henry Purcell. I had often heard him hailed as the last English composer before Elgar great enough to be internationally acclaimed. As far as this goes, Purcell is certainly great. For comparison, I find his style more muted than Handel, the only other 'English' Baroque composer I can use as a reference. If this were Anglican church music that would be expected but this is theatre music, so I take it to be safe to make that judgement. Like English Baroqe architecture, the relative sombriety and austerity of Purcell's Baroque music is probablly just what characterizes it as English. Of course, the period instruments used for this recording but adds to that. There is no outrightly dramatic flourishes here, but all makes for very good listens.

The ealier discs are the more enjoyable in this package; there we have sets of music, incidental or otherwise, for a play which are more 'complete', namely Purcell composed a good number of the pieces used for the particular production. Thus we have 'suites' of sort with movements, so to speak. The later discs collect together compositions Purcell did for various other plays for which he was not principle composer. So there it ends up feeling more like a mish-mash compilation of whatever is left in the repertoir. The songs and performance are all good, but it does leave you feeling that the music is more insubstantial than in the earlier discs, not least giving the impression of being comparatively repetitive because they all feel a bit random played on the speaker in no particular order. Still, on the whole, it is worth every penny if this - authentically performed music for the Restoration stage - is your kind of music.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure trove 20 May 2011
By enthusiast TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Most of these songs are new to me and I have only a limited undertanding of how music was used and performed in the theatre in Percell's time. Dr Wyatt seems to have strong ideas concerning what he wants in this music and he clearly didn't find it here. But I find it hard to believe I am listening to the same set as he was for I just find a real treasure trove of wonderful songs, intrumental pieces and little sung scenes. And I find the quality of the singing to be mostly very high - much of it is extremely beautiful, some is touching, amusing or humerous. It reeeks of the theatre to me. In other words I have found much to love in this set and know that I have years of listening pleasure ahead of me. I may well enjoy this music played and sung in ways that Dr Wyatt would approve of but I don't personally bridle at the refinement that is so evident here.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PITY ABOUT THE SINGERS 18 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
This is the only complete collection of Purcell's theatre music so it is obviously worth acquiring to enjoy this wonderful music. Recently I revisited this set having had versions of it in my collection for over twenty years. Very quickly I realised why I didn't play it very often. The singers are "on the book", there is no sense of theatre or dramatic involvement in how they deliver this music. Listening to David Thomas delivering three dramatic songs from Don Quixote is like listening to paint dry (if that's possible) The wobbly unvaried precious middle class delivery is so at odds with the gutsiness of this music it's almost painful. Some singers, notably Judith Nelson, bring a fresher and more appealing approach. But still we have to hope that the new Naxos version is going to bring the guts and drama back into this music. A new version is certainly overdue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine reissue of a classic set 24 May 2006
By N. Chevalier - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Imagine the stupidest, most formulaic Hollywood movies you can think of: cheesy action pictures, fluffy, unfunny comedies, big but stiff epics. Now imagine that one of the greatest living composers was working in Hollywood, turning out astonishing, hauntingly beautiful and stirring musical scores for these throwaway movies. That's what you get with this set: music Henry Purcell composed for some two dozen often utterly forgettable plays (trust me--I've read a number of them!) Occasionally, when he teams up with a playwright worthy of his stature, such as John Dryden, Aphra Behn, or William Congreve, the results are even better, but for the most part you can enjoy the music here without knowing anything about the original plays.

This set originally appeared as separate LPs in the 70s and 80s, and has been long out of print. That's a pity, since Purcell spent a good deal of his short professional life in the theatre, either writing the incidental music contained on these CDs, or the music for his larger works, the semi-operas (King Arthur, The Fairy Queen, and the like). Almost all of these works are enjoyable gems; certainly, they represent a pinnacle of English 17th century music. Purcell had a genius for spinning musical gold out of the most leaden lyrics (check out his Odes and Welcome Songs on Hyperion if you don't believe me), and he does the same with the song texts in these plays.

Hogwood and the AAM offer clean, listenable performances, and the sound on these old analog discs has been cleaned up and brightened--although they were pretty good, even in the late 70s. As with most Hogwood, emotional extremes are kept to a minimum, so the "otherworldly" nature of late 17th century music, so often emphasised in more recent Baroque performances, doesn't come across here. It would be interesting to see what a group like The King's Consort would do with this music, but this set fills the major gap in the Purcell canon quite nicely.

My only beef with the reissue, as with many reissues, is that the liner notes are rather thin for a 6-cd set--the lyrics to the songs, for example, are especially missed. Still, it's a worthwhile set, and a must for fans of Purcell, English Baroque music, or anyone who just wants to experience a taste of the last days of the Restoration stage.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sound and performance 19 July 2011
By J. TIMMERMAN - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Not quite complete Theatre Music but all beautifully played and recorded in very nice analogue sound. A fair amount of vocal is included unlike other recordings of Purcell's Theatre Music. All in all another triumph for Hogwood, demonstrating what a great composer Purcell was. Great value set. Augment with Tafelmusik's lovely recording of Ayres For the Theatre - King Arthur, Fairy Queen, Indian Queen, Dioclesian to complete the set (well, 99%).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the true music lover, this one should not be missed! 13 Dec 2011
By Abert - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Henry Purcell is a big name in baroque vocal music. In some ways he was the forerunner of George Frederic Handel (at least as far as Handel's 'English' compositions are concerned).
Purcell left some masques (short baroque operas), lots of anthems (for saints' days, coronations, regal birthdays, et. al.), and a lot of vocal music for the theatre.
This 6-disc box set is a very neat (if not comprehensive) compilation of some of Purcell's important theatrical music, mostly vocal. The pieces are sung here by eminent British vocal artists (like Emma Kirkby, Bowman, Thomas et. al.) in the late 20th century. This is undoubtedly an authentic tribute to Purcell's works, under the direction of Christopher Hogwood.
If you are a vocal student learning Purcell's songs, this box set may be of considerable value for your learning to build up of your vocal repertoire. Otherwise, this box set makes great listening, and for baroque music lovers one should not miss the important works of Henry Purcell, who vocal compositions are on par with Vivaldi's in every respect.
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