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Purcell: Dido And Aeneas / Wentz, Wermyss, Zook, Et Al

Release Date: 06/28/2005 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 92538   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Henry Purcell
Performer:  Yong-Hee KimFrancine Van der HeijdenMaaike PoorthuisRichard Zook,   ... 
Conductor:  Jed Wentz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica ad RhenumMusica ad Rhenum Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Musica ad Rhenum is a one-to-a-part ensemble that lends a tremendously intimate slant to Purcell's famous piece. That it is small does not diminish whatsoever the effect of the emotions, and the SACD clarity and space if anything heighten the sense of concentration.

Rhythms are well-sprung throughout (just try the fast section of the overture for example). It is vital that Dido and Belinda are distinguishable, and there is no problem here between Nicola Wemyss and Francine van der Heijden. Van der Heijden's light voice at the outset ('Shake the cloud from off your brow') contrasts with Dido's sorrow-laden 'Ah Belinda!'. The tempo moves nicely here, and Wemyss' ornaments are tasteful. Curiously the recording sounds a little too
Read more boomy here. Van der Heijden excels in the Grove scene, her voice perfectly pure. Wemyss' final scene, which makes or breaks the performance, is sad if not soul-wrenching, her plea of 'Remember me' touching if not making the soul jangling as, in another performance-world, Kirsten Flagstad does.

The Sorceress, Helene Rasker, is rather pantomimey - not very scary, either. But if there is a weak link it is, alas, the Aeneas (Matthew Baker). He is not very imposing and almost every phrase smacks of the narcissistic.

The size of the chorus is in keeping with its surroundings, and it sings with great variety, from the lusty to the doleful. There are some fun recording effects (the 'witchy' sounds after the Witches' Dance, for example), but this is not over-done. Strangely the choral echoes seem too close to fully make their effect, and the Sailors are the most polite maritime lot I have ever heard! Of the smaller roles, Maaike Poorthuis's First Enchantress is noteworthy.

Enjoyable, then, even if the soloists are variable. There is much to delight here, not least from the 'orchestra' and its all-pervasive sense of style.

-- Colin Clarke, MusicWeb International

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

Dido and Aeneas, Z 626 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Yong-Hee Kim (Mezzo Soprano), Francine Van der Heijden (Soprano), Maaike Poorthuis (Soprano),
Richard Zook (Tenor), Rowena Simpson (Soprano), Nicola Wemyss (Mezzo Soprano),
Penni Clarke (Soprano), Matthew Baker (Tenor), Helene Rasker (Alto)
Conductor:  Jed Wentz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica ad Rhenum,  Musica ad Rhenum Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1689; England 
Venue:  Maria Minor Church, Utrecht, Netherlands 
Length: 55 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Maria Minor Church, Utrecht, Netherlands (09/13/2004 - 09/14/2004) 

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