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John Blow: Venus and Adonis

Audio Samples

>Blow, John : Chloe Found Amyntas Lying for voice & continuo
>Blow, John : Ground for 2 violins & continuo in G minor
>Lambert, Michel : Vos mespris chaque jour
>Visée, Robert de : Chaconne, for theorbo
>Blow, John : Venus and Adonis

Album Summary

>Blow, John : Chloe Found Amyntas Lying for voice & continuo
>Blow, John : Ground for 2 violins & continuo in G minor
>Lambert, Michel : Vos mespris chaque jour
>Visée, Robert de : Chaconne, for theorbo
>Blow, John : Venus and Adonis
Performers Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

For this recording of Venus & Adonis on Wigmore Hall Live, Elizabeth Kenny, one of Europe's leading lute players and founder of the Theatre of the Ayre, has, for the first time, used girl choristers in the chorus and females rather than boys in the roles of Cupid and Little Cupids. The critically-lauded Theatre of the Ayre was set up to explore the dramatic vocal music of 17th century England and this performance, with its distinctive female perspective and improvisatory nature apt to Blow's recitative style, is a faithful interpretation. The distinguished vocal line-up includes Sophie Daneman, Roderick Williams and Elin Manahan Thomas. Venus & Adonis later served as a model for Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and in this new recording - alongside Lambert's excerpts from Livre d'airs de cour and de Visée's Chaconne - it demands attention as a masterpiece in its own right.

"Elizabeth Kenny's meticulously prepared semi-staged production (drawing on some of the most prestigious names in British Early Music) raised it to a level fully comparable with the far more famous Dido and Aeneas of Purcell... All three main singers were excellent and the supporting group of shepherds and huntsmen likewise strong, notably Frederick Long. An important part is played by Cupid, attended in this production by a group of Cupids and Graces from Salisbury Cathedral School, charmingly choreographed... The balance was fine in the hall, leaving one to wonder why a dozen microphones were needed for the recording, which should become a benchmark collectors item." - musicalpointers.com

"Sophie Daneman and Roderick Williams are the lovers, while Elin Manahan Thomas leads the little Cupids (the girls of Salisbury Cathedral choir) in their ABC. Decoration is free and elegant, the accompanying programme of dances and songs (including Lambert's Vos mépris and De Visée's Chaconne) deliciously seductive." -The Independent on Sunday

"Sophie Daneman and Roderick Williams make a sensuous pair of lovers" -The Guardian***

"Sophie Daneman delivers the recitative expressively, and rises magnificently to the challenge of Venus's despair. Adonis, less wimpish than Purcell's Aeneas, is sung with forthright, virile tone by Roderick Williams...Under Elizabeth Kenny's direction, the ensemble of strings and recorders shapes the dances gracefully." -Classic FM Magazine****

"Sophie Daneman is a languid Venus and Roderick Williams is an ardent Adonis. Elin Manahan Thomas is an ideally light Cupid...Jason Darnell's virile Huntsman is a bit of a shock when he hurls out plenty of top Bs during a short passage but his contributions possess plenty of characterful verve...Not just a nice document of a good concert but a fine recording in its own right." -Gramophone Magazine

"If anything could convince me that it was indeed a masterpiece, it would be a performance such as this one, refined, sparkling and intelligent as it is...Sophie Daneman is outstanding as Venus, both in the careless comic moments and in the magnificent final lament...the Theatre of the Ayre turns in a highly impressive performance, by turns subtle and powerful, rhythmically slick and very well balanced." -International Record Review

"The true stars here are the band, led by Elizabeth Kenny, which extemporises and pushes tempos to giddy extremes. Elin Manahan Thomas steps boldly into Cupid's role, alternating deftly between the arch, the tender and the impassioned in a subtly nuanced performance." -BBC Music Magazine***

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Wigmore Hall, London (05/03/2010).



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Works Details

>Blow, John : Chloe Found Amyntas Lying for voice & continuo
  • Performers: Elizabeth Kenny (Guitar); Elizabeth Kenny (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Theatre of the Ayre
  • Running Time: 6 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Blow, John : Ground for 2 violins & continuo in G minor
  • Performers: Elizabeth Kenny (Guitar); Elizabeth Kenny (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Theatre of the Ayre
  • Running Time: 4 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Lambert, Michel : Vos mespris chaque jour
  • Performers: Elizabeth Kenny (Guitar); Elizabeth Kenny (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Theatre of the Ayre
  • Running Time: 3 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Robert de Visée (circa 1655 - circa 1732) : Chaconne, for theorbo
  • Performers: Elizabeth Kenny (Guitar); Elizabeth Kenny (Theorbo)
  • Ensemble: Theatre of the Ayre
  • Running Time: 5 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Blow, John : Venus and Adonis
  • Performers: Elizabeth Kenny (Theorbo); Elizabeth Kenny (Guitar)
  • Ensemble: Theatre of the Ayre
  • Notes: Composition written: 1681.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1681
  • Studio/Live: Live