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Musical London C. 1700: Purcell To Handel / Holman, Parley Of Instruments

Musical London C. 1700: Purcell / Var
Release Date: 01/25/2011 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 776  
Composer:  Raphael CourtevilleWilliam CroftGiovanni Battista DraghiGeorge Frideric Handel,   ... 
Conductor:  Peter Holman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parley of Instruments
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial 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
Read more 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.

– Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

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 

Sound Samples

Romulus and Hersilia: Where art thou, God of Dreams?
Trio Sonata in G minor: I. Adagio
Trio Sonata in G minor: II. Canzona: Allegro - Adagio - Presto
Trio Sonata in G minor: III. Adagio
Trio Sonata in G minor: IV. Vivace - Adagio
Tell me, some pitying angel, Z. 196, "The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation"
Creep Softly, Purling Streams
Suite in D minor: I. Preludio: Prestissimo
Suite in D minor: II. Fuga in fantasia: Presto
Suite in D minor: III. Grave: Adagio - Prestissino - Adagio
Suite in D minor: IV. Ground per fa la mano: Allegro
For rural and sincerer joys: I. Overture: Grave - Allegro
For rural and sincerer joys: II. Recitative: -
For rural and sincerer joys: III. Air: Damon, for song and fight renown'd -
For rural and sincerer joys: IV. Ground: His arms and voice o'er all Prevail
Suite in D minor: I. Overture: Slow - Brisk
Suite in D minor: II. Minuet
Suite in D minor: III. Almain: Slow
Suite in D minor: IV. Corant
Suite in D minor: V. Two in One on a Ground
Behold, where Venus weeping stands (Venus and Adonis), HWV 85 (reconstructed by P. Holman): Recitative: Behold, Where Weeping Venus Stands!
Behold, where Venus weeping stands (Venus and Adonis), HWV 85 (reconstructed by P. Holman): Aria: Dear Adonis, Beauty's Treasure
Behold, where Venus weeping stands (Venus and Adonis), HWV 85 (reconstructed by P. Holman): Recitative: Thus, Queen of Beauty
Behold, where Venus weeping stands (Venus and Adonis), HWV 85 (reconstructed by P. Holman): Aria: Transporting Joy
Sonatas for 2 Violins in D major, Op. 3, "Smallcoal": I. Vivace
Sonatas for 2 Violins in D major, Op. 3, "Smallcoal": II. Adagio
Sonatas for 2 Violins in D major, Op. 3, "Smallcoal": III. Allegro
Sonatas for 2 Violins in D major, Op. 3, "Smallcoal": IV. Adagio
Sonatas for 2 Violins in D major, Op. 3, "Smallcoal": V. Presto
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Sonata: Largo - Andante
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Recitative:
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Wash me Thoroughly from my Wickedness
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Recitative: Against Thee Only have I Sinned
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Behold, I was Shapen in Iniquity
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Thou Shalt Purge me with Hyssop
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Thou Shalt Make me Hear of Joy and Gladness
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Thou Shalt Open My Lips, O Lord
Have Mercy Upon Me, O God: Aria: Alleluia

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