Henry Purcell, The King's Consort - Complete Anthems And Services Vol 10

Wednesday 1st February 1995
Henry Purcell, The King's Consort - Complete Anthems And Services Vol 10

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Hyperion 66707

Reviewed by John Irvine

Robert King's superlative series charting all of Purcell's religious music now reaches its penultimate volume. This has certainly been one of the greatest series of classical CDs ever produced, and it seems a shame that this great series will finally come to an end. Standards have remained extremely high throughout this series in terms of selection of material, recording sound and, above all, performance. Volume 10 is no exception to the rule, a fitting tribute to Purcell in the tercentenary of his death. Britain's finest musicians and singers pull out all the stops on this disc, providing convincing and moving performances. "I Will Give Thanks Unto The Lord" is a setting of Psalm 111 for tenor, basses and choir supported by strings. The opening 'symphony' is an excellent piece of work with dotted, dancing rhythms ushering in the soloists' praise of God. The melodic accompaniment perfectly suits the words throughout as the mood of the piece changes markedly from the jaunty opening to a more specious, subdued and reverent ending. "Unto Thee Will I Cry" is a remarkable piece of writing, requiring a very wide range of the bass soloist - here Michael George provides a wonderfully memorable performance. "I Will Sing Unto The Lord" illustrates Purcell's command of colour and texture in choral writing as alternating trios of upper and lower voices create a subtle, slow-moving harmony. Other pieces included range from simple choral pieces included in the "Service In B Flat" to a devotional work "How Have I Stray'd", intended for performance in the home; throughout Purcell's standing as Britain's finest composer is ably demonstrated. An excellent addition to a very fine series of discs. I look forward to volume 11.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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