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Blow: Venus & Adonis / Jacobs, Joshua, Age Of Enlightenment


Release Date: 09/09/2008 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 501684   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Blow
Performer:  Christopher JoseyMaria Cristina KiehrRobin BlazeRosemary Joshua,   ... 
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of EnlightenmentClare College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

No more apologies for this work. Historically in the shadow of Purcell’s Dido, Venus and Adonis is fast becoming a recognized masterpiece of small-scale baroque drama. Blow draws considerable inspiration from French chamber opera both in matters of constitution and balance, though Venus and Adonis is still a distinctly English work with its poised, understated dialogue and an emotional denouement where Adonis’s death from the tusks of a boar is touchingly tender in its measured, if demonstrative grief; the effect is not far removed from Dido’s lament, though Purcell’s tragic vein is ultimately untouchable. There are, however, some superb examples of indigenous word-setting and declamatory arioso which put Blow in the Purcell bracket in Read more several instances, not least in Cupid’s forthright scene-setting, sung with increasing assurance by Robin Blaze. Indeed, Rene Jacobs surrounds himself with many fine singers here, all of whom he marshals in lively and responsive performances. Rosemary Joshua is an irresistible Venus, who wastes not a word either in colourful representation or vocal suppleness, and Gerald Finlay’s reflective longing accords with Jacobs’s elegant and full-flavoured direction. More continental in nuance than Philip Pickett’s direct and tightly-wrought account, Jacobs lends a gentle francophile accentuation to the dances rather than Pickett’s deliberately organized characterization.

It is hard to choose between Catherine Bott’s classical bearing and Joshua’s sensual realism, and between Finlay and Michael George, both of whom deliver agreeably resonant performances. In terms of atmosphere – of which Blow is a tantalizing master – Pickett takes some beating in the languorous ‘In these sweet groves’ and the Westminster Abbey School Choristers convey more of the humour and charm of the famous Cupid’s lesson than Jacobs’s brats (really the women of Clare College) who over-egg the pudding. Yet there is a nobility in the initial exchanges between the protagonists which, although it constitutes little more than spouting the other’s name, is elevated by a doleful shimmer of recorders, which under Jacobs augurs much in its funereal symbolism. These responsive instrumental interjections from the OAE are even more effective in ‘Hark, hark the rural music sounds’. Indeed, for all the mercurial magic of Pickett, the range of dramatic sensibility from Jacobs gives this new account an extra layer of realization and colour. There’s colour, too, in the fact that Venus and Adonis was first performed with Charles II’s mistress Moll Davis as Venus, and Cupid played by his illegitimate daughter, Lady Mary Tudor.

Since Sir Anthony Lewis’s inaugural recording from 1953 (L’Oiseau Lyre, 3/54 – nla), then, we have had the Consort of Musicke’s pioneering ‘period’ account, and London Baroque under Charles Medlam with Lynne Dawson as Venus, and all have been largely overtaken by The New London Consort under Pickett. This admirable new recording puts the work on yet another footing.

-- Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Gramophone [9/1999]
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Works on This Recording

1. Venus and Adonis: Overture by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
2. Venus and Adonis: Behold my arrows and my bow by John Blow
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3. Venus and Adonis: Come shepherds all by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
4. Venus and Adonis: Courtiers there is no faith in you by John Blow
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5. Venus and Adonis: In these sweet groves by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
6. Venus and Adonis: Cupid's entry by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
7. Venus and Adonis: The Act 1 Tune by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8. Venus and Adonis: Venus! Adonis! by John Blow
Performer:  Rosemary Joshua (Soprano), Gerald Finley (Baritone)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
9. Venus and Adonis: Hark, hark the rural music sounds by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 9 Secs. 
10. Venus and Adonis: Adonis will not hunt today by John Blow
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
11. Venus and Adonis: Come, follow the noblest game by John Blow
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Christopher Josey (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
12. Venus and Adonis: A dance by a Huntsman by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
13. Venus and Adonis: The Act 2 Tune by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
14. Venus and Adonis: You place with such delightful care by John Blow
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor), Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 42 Secs. 
15. Venus and Adonis: The cupid's lesson "The insolent, the arrogant" by John Blow
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
16. Venus and Adonis: Choose for the formal fool by John Blow
Performer:  Robin Blaze (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
17. Venus and Adonis: A Dance of Cupids by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
18. Venus and Adonis: Call the Graces by John Blow
Performer:  Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 53 Secs. 
19. Venus and Adonis: Mortals below, Cupids above by John Blow
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 26 Secs. 
20. Venus and Adonis: The Graces' Dance by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 17 Secs. 
21. Venus and Adonis: Gavott by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
22. Venus and Adonis: Saraband for the Graces by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
23. Venus and Adonis: A Ground by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 
24. Venus and Adonis: The Act 3 Tune by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
25. Venus and Adonis: Adonis, uncall'd for sighs by John Blow
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
26. Venus and Adonis: With solemn pomp let mourning Cupids bear by John Blow
Performer:  Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
27. Venus and Adonis: Mourn for thy servant by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
28. Venus and Adonis by John Blow
Performer:  Christopher Josey (Countertenor), Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano), Robin Blaze (Countertenor),
Gerald Finley (Baritone), Rosemary Joshua (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Clare College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1681; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Why is this not more Well Known? August 25, 2012 By Clifford H C. (Thompson, MB) See All My Reviews "Blow: Venus & Adonis René Jacobs - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment This is an excellent performance in every respect. The soloists all perform amazingly well with not a weak performance among them. The Harmonia Mundi Gold editions are well packaged and show off some excellent mastering and engineering. I enjoyed the excellent sound field that the recording produced. The spaciousness and breath of the recording space is well represented. Jacobs and his Orchestra are really well paced keeping the excitement and fun of the recording. It is always very easy for classical recordings to become way too serious, and Jacobs always manages to show-off the humor in the score. If you have never listened to John Blow, this is a real eye opener. The man was seriously talented. It is a shame that he has been overshadowed by Purcell. Finding recording of John Blow is also difficult (lots of compilation CD’s all featuring the same pieces of music and very little just featuring Blow)." Report Abuse
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