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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performances, 15 April 2013
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Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: William Hayes - The Passions: An Ode for Music (La Cetra Barockorchester Basel / Anthony Rooley) (Audio CD)
This is an enjoyable recording of a mid-18th Century work by William Hayes, a composer unknown to me before this. On this evidence he deserves to be better known: his collection of songs, choruses and instrumental pieces representing various emotions from Fear, Anger and Despair to Cheerfulness, Joy, and Reason are very engaging. There is, as might be expected from a work of this kind in 1750s London, a slightly Handelian feel about it, but it has its own individual charm and merits. Hayes was clearly a skilled arranger because the pieces are nicely varied and the orchestral and choral pieces in particular are very well done.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Anthony Rooley brings terrific playing from his orchestra, the chorus are terrific and the soloists all very good. Their approach is engaged and flexible, and they really engage in investing the pieces with their appropriate emotion. My reservation about this disc is that the music isn't quite up to the task it sets itself and, for all its charm and skill, doesn't really ring with emotional variety and depth, so I find it a little hard to take in large quantities.

This may be a matter of personal taste. This disc has received very enthusiastic reviews and if you are keen on mid-18th Century music it may well be for you. It is very well performed, the recorded sound is excellent and the packaging and notes are well up to Glossa's normal high standard, so I'd suggest you try it for yourself and see. You certainly won't be disappointed and may well make a joyous discovery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll love this ..., 3 Jun 2012
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This review is from: William Hayes - The Passions: An Ode for Music (La Cetra Barockorchester Basel / Anthony Rooley) (Audio CD)
This delightful work is stylishly performed in this clean, well-engineered disc. Rooley and his team have truly succeeded in this work's 'rediscovery'; tuneful, wittily descriptive music, fleet of foot, and a joy. Collins's text was designed to be set to music and Willam Hayes's setting is pure delight. It is not hard to understand why foreign musicians flocked to England in the eighteenth century when there was such a native tradition to engage with. If you still beleve that without Handel, England was (after Purcell) 'das Land ohne Musik', then give this a try and be delighted to discover how wrong you are. One might loosely describe the style as Handelian, but - in the best sense - Hayes was no Handel. Here is no mere pastiche. This work, and this recording, conveys the very vim and vigour of eighteenth-century England, its original sophisticated writing full of colour and contrast 'con brio'.
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