Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

BRITTEN – Purcell Realizations

Felicity Lott; Susan Gritton; Sarah Walker; James Bowman; John Mark Ainsley; Ian Bostridge; Anthony Rolfe Johnson; Richard Jackson ; Simon Keenleyside and Graham Johnson

Hyperion – Dyad – CDD22058

Recorded 1995 – 2 CDs – 143.37 minutes

Britten's fine realizations of Purcell's songs usually turn up in recitals in twos or threes leaving the listener eager for more, so the return to the Hyperion catalogue of this full compilation first issued in 1995 is more than welcome

The first CD is devoted to songs drawn from Orpheus Britannicus and the second to those from Harminia Sacra . In each case they are ordered (with one exception) in the chronological sequence in which Britten prepared his arrangements.

A real star line up of British singers took part in this enterprise and their voices alternate throughout the two discs, with six duets and a trio thrown in for good measure. Graham Johnson is the pianist throughout, and contributes enormously to the lively melodic performance.

It is also interesting as an anthology of poetry of its period, much of which would perhaps remain obscure without the extra lease of life provided by Purcell's settings.

It could be an album that one would dip into from time to time, rather than listen to it from end to end, but with the special offer of “2 compact discs for the price of one” on Hyperion's budget Dyad label, it is as good a bargain as one is likely to come across

Serena Fenwick

© Peter Grahame Woolf