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Eccles: The Judgement of Paris, Mad Songs / Curnyn, Williams, Hulett, Bickley, et al

Album Summary

>Eccles, John : The Judgment of Paris or the Prize Music, masque
>Eccles, John : Mad Songs (3)
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

BBC Music Magazine
Christian Curnyn elegantly captures the unique charms of Eccles's music. ... as Venus, Lucy Crowe's melting lyricism, delicately underpinned by plucked and bowed instruments, is irresistible; the vigour of Claire Boothe (Pallas) and dignity of Susan Bickley (Juno) are equally impressive.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Eccles's one-act 'semi-opera' (1701) calls for five solo singers, a choir and relatively modest instrumental resources - four-part strings, four trumpets, two recorders, kettledrums and continuo.

Absent are castrati and countertenors.

The music is tuneful, the boundaries between recitatives and airs often blurred. To address the lack of anguish or whiff of treachery in the masque, three 'mad' arias by the composer, each sung by a different soprano, are included at the end. The Early Opera Company band delivers delicately balanced homophonic accompaniments to the airs, varied by ground basses that remind us of Henry Purcell, and occasional solos, duos and quartets. As charming as it is, it doesn't bear comparison with opera seria of the day and, in particular, Handel's Rinaldo, presented to London audiences a decade later.

Christian Curnyn offers an unaffected, faithful reading of the printed score. If anything, it is understated, the instrumental forces reduced (the premiere employed 85 musicians in addition to the 'verse singers') and the recording acoustic intimate. Lucy Crowe's Venus may win the prize, but all of the soloists contribute beautifully judged portrayals.

Gramophone Magazine
Christian Curnyn offers an unaffected, faithful reading of the printed score. If anything, it is understated, the instrumental forces reduced... and the recording acoustic intimate. Lucy Crowe's Venus may win the prize, but all of the soloists contribute beautifully judged portrayals.

The Observer
Really stylish singing by Lucy Crowe, Susan Bickley and Claire Booth as the three goddesses, with Juno the clear winner in the magnificently relentless number "Let Ambition Fire Thy Mind", and lithe playing and singing under a rising young baroque conductor.



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Works Details

>Eccles, John : The Judgment of Paris or the Prize Music, masque
  • Performers: Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano); Claire Booth (Soprano); Lucy Crowe (Soprano); Benjamin Hulett (Voice); Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Ensemble: Early Opera Company
  • Notes: All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, England (07/22/2008-07/23/2008)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1701

>Eccles, John : Mad Songs (3)
  • Performers: Susan Bickley (Mezzo Soprano); Claire Booth (Soprano); Lucy Crowe (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Christian Curnyn
  • Ensemble: Early Opera Company
  • Notes: All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, England (07/22/2008-07/23/2008)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque