Notes and Editorial Reviews
Alfred Deller was more than just a remarkable voice. He was a pioneer, responsible for re-introducing the counter-tenor voice, and celebrated for his revivals of baroque music and particularly Purcell. His craftsmanship as a musician was impressive for one almost entirely self-trained; his singing sublime.
This compilation disc brings together some of the most important Deller recordings covering the four main genres that he recorded – Folksong, English Madrigals and Airs, European Vocal music, and Purcell. The disc opens with eight well-known folksongs, accompanied with great sensitivity and skill by Desmond Dupre on the lute. These are followed by seven English madrigals and airs, some with the Deller Consort, founded by
Alfred Deller, others with the Wenzinger Consort of Viols of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. These include works by Byrd, Morley, Weelkes, Parsons and so on. The seven European vocal works include composers ranging from Handel and Lassus through to Monteverdi and Schutz, performed by the Oriana Concert Choir and Orchestra, Desmond Dupre, and the Ensemble of Baroque Instruments. The disc concludes with seven songs by the composer with whom Deller is most often associated – Henry Purcell. In these works, Deller is accompanied by Walter Bergman on the harpsichord, and the Leonhardt Baroque Ensemble, with the great Leonhardt himself directing from the harpsichord. With the exception of the desperately moving Music for a While, perhaps the highlight of this whole disc, brimming as it is with ‘classics’, is Sound the Trumpet from Come Ye Sons of Art, in which Alfred is joined by the Oriana Concert Orchestra and by his son, Mark, also singing counter-tenor, in a glorious performance of a superb work.
Many will be familiar with Alfred’s voice, and this disc shows it at its best - incredibly expressive and characterful, with a good enunciation, and a great ability to adapt perfectly to whatever role he is playing, whether it is bold, rowdy and swaggering, beautifully pure and delicate or melancholic and deeply moving.
The presentation of the disc is just slightly disappointing, and it is a pity about the typo in the notes of Vaughan Williams as “Vaugan Williams” – this is otherwise an excellent disc, and a very good compilation for those who love Alfred Deller’s wonderful voice.
-- Em Marshall, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Il est bel et bon by Pierre Passereau
Written: 16th Century; France
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