Purcell: Music for a While CD+DVD, Limited Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This brilliant and enjoyable music is just the job for classcial aficionados who are also jazz fans. For my shelves, I've categorised it as "Post-Modern Purcell". In Baroque music, there is alway dance and I believe the continuo players were permitted to improvise anyway, so the notions of rhythm and experimentation were always there.
The main reason for my review, though, is to contest the statement that the work contains "skiffle" and to quell the idea that it's going to be bashed out on strummed guitar, washboard and one-string tea chest bass. Nothing could be further from the truth. The pianist and guitarist play jazz at times, but the whole thing couldn't be more refined.
The use of a soprano who doesn't sound classically trained, or not fully so, is interesting - and poignant.
It is left to the singers to convey what is left of the Purcellian idiom, and they are great. But the "arrangements", almost all by Pluhar, bring immediately to mind the dreaded word: skiffle. In various renderings, Bach suffered this "updating" treatment years ago, but Purcell doesn't stand it. What Deller and David Munrow started - and performed amazingly on various CDs still available - and Hogwood and others continued, meets an inglorious end here.
Rock bottom is the 20 minute "bonus" DVD. Four songs are recorded, skiffle group well in view, each track with repeated end credits. Singers win, again. The final "trailer", also with credits, contains nothing but the opening bars of the four songs just performed. Is this the sort of shoddy stuff what we are to expect from Erato/Warner? Hardly likely to provide a new spike in CD buying.
As a keen ‘Purcellian’, then – owning many fine recordings by such consummate performers as The King’s Consort with James Bowman, Susan Gritton et al (Hyperion), and William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants (Erato) – I was keen to discover these cross-genre re-imaginings of familiar classical pieces… and what a revelation!
Amongst Mr Purcell’s many compositional techniques was the ‘ground bass’ – a repeating bass structure over which he magically wove the most beautiful and varied melodies (often requiring detailed examination to believe that the same, recurring bass line is employed throughout). For instance (although not from this collection), the countertenor solo of Be welcome then, great Sir (from Purcell’s welcome song for Charles II, Fly, bold rebellion) is later elaborated, at length, over the same three-bar ground bass with the most ravishing orchestral ritornello. It would therefore, I suggest, be perfectly possible that this composer of great choral and theatrical masterpieces (as well as secular and even bawdy drinking songs) might be enthusiastically open to such improvisation and invention.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't actually posses much Purcell but read the review of this in a copy of Gramophone I picked up at the airport. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Dr S H
Magical, totally liberated interpretation. Stunning vocal presence complemented by a spirited, unconventional accompaniment. Truly, truly beautiful.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Austrian theorbist Christina Pluhar and her early music ensemble L’Arpeggiata are extremely popular in Europe and although they do not have the same cult following in the UK,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by M. Joyce
I'm inspired. What a great take on these classics. Made me completely re-evaluate the music and see so much that is new in it. Definitely recommend this for a listen. Read morePublished 6 months ago by periodictable
one or two duff tracks - don't rate their version of Hallelujah for instance - but most of it is fantastic and a really fresh take on PurcellPublished 7 months ago by wood-woman