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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended Naxos bargain., 20 May 2001
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fairy Queen
For a very modest outlay, you will be able to enjoy some great music if you drop this 2 CD set into your trolley. It is great music that is too expensive to mount in live productions, too. Originally intended to augment a production of Shakespeare's "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream", it resulted in a lavish six hour entertainment that cost £3,000 to produce in 1692. Purcell provided five masques, involving soloists, chorus and orchestra, but set none of Shakespeare's text.
Well, here is Purcell's contribution complete, in a lively "period instrument" version by the Scholars Baroque Ensemble. The ensemble's founder, David van Asch, has prepared and edited the version used here. Do not neglect the instrumental items provided in an appendix at the end of the 2nd CD. They originally were interpolated into the play rather than forming part of the accompanying masques, and some of them are gems.
The vocalists, especially David van Asch himself whose "drunken poet" scene is delivered with great relish, blend and lead admirably, although ensemble is sometimes a little ragged.
I think it was Constant Lambert who said he would willingly sacrifice all Bach's Brandenburg Concerti for Purcell's "The Fairy Queen". See what you think.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars earthy yet plush Purcell, 4 April 2010
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Sentinel (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Audio CD)
Purcell is well represented on Naxos, both in quality recordings/performances, and unbeatable prices. Here is a lively,characterful and remarkably authentic sounding account of Purcell's very loose re-working of Midsummer Night's Dream. The singing is almost exclusively high-quality, infused with character and humour, with a deceptively live and spontaneous feel. The orchestration has an earthily authentic quality which suggests period instruments such as viols, though none are credited. If you want a warm, spontaneous-sounding, beautiful dollop of Purcell's songs and instrumental music, you can't possibly go wrong here: it provides a similar comfort factor to dark chocolate. Sink into it, and enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purcell The Fairy Queen, 4 April 2011
By 
Miss M. Potter "marcia" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Audio CD)
This two disc digital recording from Naxos is a shining light of a recording that stands out in so many ways.
The CD itself describes it as "The Scholars Baroque Ensemble on original instruments" However The Scholars Baroque Ensemble go far beyond the realms of "authenticity". Here they show clarity and vitality.
The ensemble uses a minimum of players and singers just as it would have been at the time of the compositions conception.
The Scholars Baroque Ensemble project the spirit of Purcell through this colourful score and provide natural spontaneity. There is a strong atmosphere of Englishness through this wonderful performance and this whole project stands out as very unique. A clear independence from European Opera.
The performance takes us effortlessly from one number to another just like a live performance on stage would do.
There is no sign of the fragmentation of context you would expect to find when you consider that this was recorded over a period of four days in 1992. Instead the recording displays the feel and atmosphere of one complete performance that transports the listener to the reality of the story on stage.
There is an earthy effect and the recording is less ostentatious than other recordings.
This was the fourth stage work by Purcell. It is the English semi opera genre that provides the masques which enhances the mood in this loose adaptation of Shakespear`s A Midsummer Night`s Dream.
There are some lovely orchestral pieces with crisp, ornamented moments. The whole chorus is warmly blended, all of the singers and musicians are on top form and the entire disc is very enjoyable.
The sound is excellent and it was recorded at St Silas church London 1992.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purcell - The Fairy Queen, 13 April 2014
By 
Chris Brown "C J M Brown" (Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Audio CD)
This is a manificent recording. As I still have it on LP, I thought it was about time I replaced it. I couldn't find the same artists,so opted for this one, which I like much better, the difference being, is that the CD recording uses period instrumentation, my LP one doesn't, I therefore finf the recording with the Scholars Baroque Ensemble more genuine in keeping with the 17th Century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 10 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Audio CD)
This is a beautiful CD, a good one to play for youngsters to get them interested in music, it's very relaxing and imaginative.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Culture vulture, 15 May 2013
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This review is from: Purcell - The Fairy Queen (Audio CD)
I am a little bit limited with my CDs at the moment, as I don't have a really good sound system to play them on. I do like it - with a better sound system I would probably like it more.
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Purcell - The Fairy Queen
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