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Musical London C. 1700: Purcell To Handel - Holman, Parley Of Instruments (2011)

Posted By: peotuvave
Musical London C. 1700: Purcell To Handel - Holman, Parley Of Instruments (2011)

Musical London C. 1700: Purcell To Handel - Holman, Parley Of Instruments (2011)
EAC Rip | Flac (Image + cue + log) | 1 CD | Full Scans | 355 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Chandos | Catalog Number: 776

The late seventeenth century was a period of great change in English music. This was a time when the influences of Italian music were ever-increasing, brought to England by Italian composers such as Draghi, Haym, and Matteis, and by their German contemporaries Pepusch and Handel. In this new release we explore how the English composers Purcell, Weldon, and Croft responded to Italian music and incorporated the style into their own works. The piece by Purcell, Tell me, some pitying angel (or ‘The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation’), written in the style of an Italian cantata, perfectly illustrates his mastery of the Italian style.

This distinctive blend of English and Italian influences also became evident in the works of many European composers in England, as they adopted the native English style and form. In fact, the English legacy can be heard in the music of Draghi, Courteville, Matteis, Handel, Pepusch, and Haym, almost as clearly as in the music of their English contemporaries. Draghi’s trio sonata is a prime example of this. It seems to have been influenced by English consort music, and its short, contrasted sections and unexpected harmonies are far removed from the sonatas that composers were writing in Italy at the time.

The works on this release are performed by Peter Holman’s early music group The Parley of Instruments, which today is recognised as one of the leading exponents of baroque music. The ensemble’s trail-blazing work in English eighteenth-century music has led to collaborations with soloists such as Catherine Bott, Crispian Steele-Perkins, and ElizabethWallfisch. On this release, the group is joined by the soprano Philippa Hyde, with Peter Holman, conductor and founder of The Parley of Instruments, playing the harpsichord and organ.

Composer: Raphael Courteville, William Croft, Giovanni Battista Draghi, George Frideric Handel, …
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments

Reviews: This is a most pleasant snapshot of the kind of music that could be heard in London around the turn of the 18th century, from the time of the death of Purcell to the early years of Handel in the city. There may be nothing here to set your listening experience on fire, but, equally, there’s nothing to spoil it.

Much of the music is little-known – note the number of first recordings – indeed, some of the composers will be not much more for most listeners than names in text books. Only Purcell’s ‘Tell me some pitying angel’ (The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation) is at all well known; it is, nevertheless, excellently performed here, with Philippa Hyde’s lucid voice fitting it to a T.

If the name William Croft rings a bell at all, it’s likely to be for his Purcell-inspired setting of the Burial Service, the epitome of stately Anglican music. Croft’s pastoral ‘symphony song’, one of the premiere recordings here, offers a real contrast.

Handel’s Venus and Adonis is also claimed as a first recording, though there already exists a recent version by the Zefiro Ensemble on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (8869763032) and the two most substantial arias were included on a recording of Handel’s English Cantatas on Avie (2 CDs, AV2153 – see review). What we are offered on the new CD is a reconstruction by Peter Holman, with the two recitatives re-composed. It’s convincing, but the two arias stand well enough on their own on Avie.

For me the major discovery was Nicola Haym’s Chandos Anthem – yes, other composers than Handel did set music for the Duke of Chandos at Cannons – a setting of parts of Psalm 51, different from the more famous Chandos anthems, but music which challenges Handel’s hegemony. It’s also almost unfailingly joyful, in a manner not entirely appropriate to one of the penitential psalms, but very easy on the ear.

I’ve already praised Philippa Hyde’s contribution to the Purcell work. Her performances in the other works are of equally high quality and she is most ably supported by the Parley of Instruments, who also work their customary magic in the instrumental interludes. The whole is woven together by master magician Peter Holman. The quality of Holman’s contribution I took for granted even before playing the recording, but Ms Hyde has been a major (re)-discovery. She sings Semira on the Hyperion recording of Arne’s Artaxerxes, the reissue of which I reviewed some time ago, but I hadn’t really taken on board the excellence of her singing till now. Actually, I note that I thought her diction less than exemplary in Arne – see review – a comment which certainly does not apply to the new recording.

My Arcam Solo refused to recognise the CD, but other less fussy – and less expensive – decks readily obliged. Otherwise the recording is excellent.

The excellent notes complete an offering which will appeal strongly, albeit to a limited audience. Even if you aren’t an expert in the music of this period, if you like Purcell and Handel, I’d encourage you to try this programme of music by their contemporaries. To end where I began, it may not set your listening experience afire, but you’re almost bound to enjoy it.

Tracklisting:

1. Creep softly, purling streams by Raphael Courteville
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England

2. Symphony Song: For rural and sincerer joys by William Croft
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England

3. Where art thou, God of Dreams? by Giovanni Battista Draghi
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: 1683; England
Notes: From the opera "Romulus and Hersilia" composed 1682.

4. Select Suites (6) of Leszons for Harpsichord: Suite in G minor by Giovanni Battista Draghi
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: by 1707; England

5. Venus and Adonis, HWV 85 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England
Notes: Cantata reconstructed by Peter Holman.

6. Chandos Anthem: Have mercy on me, O God by Nicola Francesco Haym
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England

7. Ayres for the Violin, Book 4: Suite in D minor by Nicola Matteis
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: by 1685; London, England

8. Sonata in D major by Johann Christoph Pepusch
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England
Notes: Subtitled "Small coal".

9. Trio Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in G minor, Z 780 by Henry Purcell
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England
Notes: Reconstructed by Peter Holman.

10. Tell me, some pitying angel, Z 196 "Blessed Virgin's Expostulation" by Henry Purcell
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: by 1693; England

11. Suite in D minor by John Weldon
Conductor: Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble: Parley of Instruments
Period: Baroque
Written: England

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 3. November 2012, 2:05

Philippa Hyde, The Parley of Instruments, Peter Holman / Musical London c.1700

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Filename J:\New Music\Musical London c.1700\Musical London c.1700.wav

Peak level 95.6 %
Extraction speed 4.4 X
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