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Customer Review

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too much thunder and lightning, 23 July 2007
This review is from: Purcell - Dido & Aeneas / Bott, Kirkby, Ainsley, Thomas, AAM, Hogwood (Audio CD)
This is certainly a good rendition of Purcell's chamber opera, well sung and performed, although I find the sound effects of thunder and lightning overdone and partly disturbing, especially since they are not in accordance with the otherwise "authentic practice" of this recording. (I am sure there was no prefabricated thunder and lightning at hand in Purcell's time, was it?) Still, there are more interesting versions of "Dido and Aeneas" available. If you are getting your first CD with this opera, try out the legendary 1961 recording with the English Chamber Orchestra, featuring Janet Baker as Dido. It's full of drama, and the sound engineering is excellent. If you prefer a version on period instruments, take a look at William Christie's 1994 recording with Les Arts Florissants. The playing is more transparent than on the Hogwood CD and the sound altogether more brilliant.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Apr 2009, 19:34:38 BST
Last edited by the author on 17 Apr 2009, 19:40:52 BST
R. Taylor says:
Actually the thunder and lightning effects on this recording were made using a genuinely historic sound effects machine! Christopher Hogwood makes the point in his performance notes (at least, as published in the original edition):

"The most important division of worlds in Dido and Aeneas,
between the royal victims and the supernatural and malign
influences, would have been apparent to the seventeenth-century
theatre-goer not only visually but audibly as well. Thunder,
lightening and other effects were all supplied off-stage ...
"in the absence of anything visual in a recording, their presence
is all the more important, and they are supplied here from
the original machinery used in the Drottningholm Court Theatre
in Sweden."

Not everyone may agree, but personally I think it's just another brilliant touch in an excellent performance.
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