Paul Esswood

Biography

Born: June 6, 1942; West Bridgeford, England  
Before the emergence of David Daniels as a countertenor superstar, Paul Esswood alone offered a rounded, settled, womanly sound spun around a firm, even vibrato. He quickly made his way among conductors who appreciated both his conscientious musicianship and beautiful sound. His now-legendary series of Bach recordings made with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the 1970s still gives much pleasure even though Baroque-period performing styles have evolved Read more since then. Esswood trained at the Royal Academy of Music from 1961, studying under baritone Gordon Clinton. Beginning in 1964, he was a lay vicar at Westminster Abbey, remaining in that position until 1971. During that same period, several significant debuts took place; his first professional performance took place in a 1965 broadcast of the Messiah with conductor Charles Mackerras (with whom he later recorded the work) and in 1968, he made his stage debut in Cavalli's Erismena in Berkeley, CA. The following year, he made his European opera debut singing the title role in Scarlatti's Il Tigrane at Basle. His fluency and command in Baroque operas quickly led to other performances in stage works by Monteverdi, Scarlatti, and Handel. During 1971 alone, he appeared in all three of Monteverdi's best-known operas, essaying Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria in Vienna, Orfeo at the Salzburg Festival, and L'Incoronazione di Poppea in Amsterdam. During the 1976-1977 season at Zurich, Esswood repeated the Monteverdi works in a cycle of productions directed by Jean Ponnelle with Harnoncourt conducting, which was subsequently recorded and filmed for worldwide broadcast. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's Paradise Lost featured Esswood in the role of Death at both its 1978 premiere in Chicago and at La Scala the following season. In 1984, Esswood created the title role in Philip Glass' Akhnaten at Stuttgart (another role of his subsequently released on recording) and in 1988, he sang Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Cologne. At Karlsruhe's 1990 Handel Festival, he performed the title role in Admeto and sang Riccardo Primo during the 1991 English Bach Festival at Covent Garden. A later premiere found Esswood creating the role of Seff in Herbert Willi's Schlafes Bruder in Zürich and repeating the role in a second production at Innsbruck. In addition to opera, Esswood has been active as a recitalist and concert singer. On both the concert stage and at many of the world's leading festivals, he has performed works spanning several centuries, including the period of Romanticism, and works from modern times. In addition to Penderecki's Paradise Lost, Esswood also sang the premiere of his Magnificat. Two premieres of works by Alfred Schnittke featured performances by Esswood: the Faust Cantata and the Symphony No. 2 "St. Florian," the latter yet another example of his work now available on disc. During a long career, Esswood has participated in more than 150 recordings, including no fewer than four of Handel's Messiah. His Bach series for Teldec includes the complete cantatas, while his solo recordings engage the music of Purcell, Schumann, and Britten with many others in between. Since 1985, Esswood has been a professor of Baroque vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1967, he co-founded the Pro Cantione Antiqua. Read less

There are 35 Paul Esswood recordings available.

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Formats & Featured

Biography

Born: June 6, 1942; West Bridgeford, England  
Before the emergence of David Daniels as a countertenor superstar, Paul Esswood alone offered a rounded, settled, womanly sound spun around a firm, even vibrato. He quickly made his way among conductors who appreciated both his conscientious musicianship and beautiful sound. His now-legendary series of Bach recordings made with Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the 1970s still gives much pleasure even though Baroque-period performing styles have evolved Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas - Overture
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 1 - "Shake the cloud from off your brow"
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Act 1 - "Ah! Belinda"/"Grief increases"/"When monarchs unite"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 1 - "Whence could so much virtue spring?" - "Fear no danger"
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Act 1 - "See, your royal guest appears"/"Cupid only throws.."
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 1 - "If not for mine, for empire's sake" ... "To the hills and the vales"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 1 - The Triumphing Dance
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Act 2 - "Prelude for..."/"Harms our..."/"The Queen"/"Ho,ho,ho"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - "Ruin'd ere the set of sun" ... "But ere we this perform"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - "In our deep vaulted cell"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - Echo Dance of Furies
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - Ritornelle - "Thanks to these lonesome vales" - Gitter Ground a Dance
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - "Oft she visits"
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Act 2 - "Behold, upon my bending spear"/"Haste, haste to town"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - "Stay, Prince"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 2 - "Then since our charms have sped" - "A Dance" - The Groves Dance
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - Prelude - "Come away, fellow sailors"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - The Sailors' Dance "See the flags and streamers curling"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - "Our next motion" - "Destructions's our delight"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - The Witches' Dance
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - "Your counsel all is urg'd in vain" - "Great minds against themselves conspire"
Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Act 3 - "Thy hand, Belinda"/"When I am laid in earth"
Purcell: Dido and Aeneas / Act 3 - "With drooping wings..." - Cupids´ Dance
Purcell: Hail, Bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Symphony
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Hail, bright Cecilia!
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Hail, bright Cecilia!
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Hark, hark, each tree its silence breaks
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Tis Nature's voice
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Soul of the world
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Thou tun'st this world below, the spheres above
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - With that sublime celestial lay
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Wondrous machine!
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - The airy violin
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - In vain the am'rous flute and soft guitar
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - The fife, and all the harmony of war
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Let these amongst themselves contest
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Hail, bright Cecilia!
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - With rapture of delight
Purcell: Hail, bright Cecilia!, Z. 328 Ode For St. Cecilia's Day - Hail, bright Cecilia!
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster): Sinfony (Grave - Allegro moderato)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Comfort ye my people (tenor accompagnato: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Ev'ry valley shall be exalted (tenor air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: And the glory of the Lord (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Thus saith the Lord (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: But who may abide? (alto air: Larghetto - Prestissimo)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: And He shall purify (chorus)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Behold, a virgin shall conceive (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: O thou that tellest (alto air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass accompagnato: Andante larghetto)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: The people that walked in darkness (bass air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: For unto us a child is born (chorus: Andante allegro)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Pifa (Pastoral Symphony: Larghetto e mezzo piano)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: There were shepherds abiding in the field (soprano recitative)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: And lo, the angel of the Lord
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: And the angel said unto them
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: And suddenly there was with the angel
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Glory to God (chorus): Allegro, da lontano e un poco piano)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano air: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: Then shall the eyes of the blind (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: He shall feed his flock ... Come unto Him all ye that labour (soprano & alto duet: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 1: His yoke is easy (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 2: Behold the lamb of God (chorus: Largo)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 2: He was despised (alto air: Largo)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 2: Surely he hath borne our griefs (chorus: Largo e staccato)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: Behold I tell you a mystery (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: The trumpet shall sound (bass air: Pomposo, ma non troppo)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: Then shall be brought to pass (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: O death, where is thy sting (alto & tenor duet: Andante)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: But thanks be to God (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: If God is for us (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: Worthy is the lamb (chorus: Largo - Andante - Laghetto)
Messiah HWV56 (1987 Digital Remaster), PART 3: Amen (chorus: Allegro moderato)
Act I - Year 1 of Akhnaten's Reign - Thebes - Prelude: Refrain, Verse 1, Verse 2
Prelude: Verse 3
Scene 1: Funeral of Amenhotep III
Scene 2: Coronation of Aknaten
Scene 3: Window of Appearances
Act II: Years 5 to 15 - Thebes and Akhetaten - Scene 1: Temple
Scene 2: Akhnaten and Nefertiti
Scene 3: City/Dance
Narration: City/Dance
Scene 4: Hymn
Act III: Year 17 and the Present - Akhetaten - Scene 1: Family
Scene 2: Attack and Fall
Scene 3: The Ruins
Epilogue


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