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Purcell: The Indian Queen / Purcell Simfony and Voices

Album Summary

>Purcell, Henry : Indian Queen, Z 630
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
If The Indian Queen is less ambitious than the other three 'operas' there's the sure touch here of the composer at his most mature and adept. The Prologue, in which he had the rare opportunity to set an extended dialogue, is beautifully balanced, and the music in Act 3 - when Zempoalla's illfated love is prophesied by Ismeron the magician in 'Ye twice 10,000 deities' - ranks alongside the finest moments in Purcell's output. The smallscale character of the work, compared to its siblings, is taken a stage further by the Purcell Simfony, which employs a minute chamber-size group of four strings, doubling oboe and recorder, single trumpet and drums. The soloists sing with airy restraint but each responds to these Hilliard-esque proportions with a rhythmic buoyancy and direct intimacy which projects a finely gauged overall conception of the work.

If the expressive power of the music is at times rather glazed, there's a sure atmosphere which is captured by recorded sound that's both warm and yet never imposing. The ensemble isn't always first-rate but there's nothing too worrisome and the instrumental numbers are elegantly shaped. Tessa Bonner gets the lion's share of the solo soprano numbers, ahead of the more colourful Catherine Bott, though the former's comparatively brittle sound has a crystalline quality which suits Catherine Mackintosh's consistent, if austere strategy.

In short, this release is consistently touching, one which in a paradoxical way gets under the skin despite the recessed emotional climate it conveys.



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Works Details

>Purcell, Henry : Indian Queen, Z 630
  • Performers: Mark Radcliffe (Oboe); Peter Harvey (Bass); Edward Caswell (Bass); Sally Bruce-Payne (Mezzo Soprano); Catherine Bott (Soprano); Richard Boothby (Bass Violin); Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor); Mark Radcliffe (Recorder); Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor); Catherine Weiss (Violin); Matthew Dixon (Recorder); Jane Rogers (Viola); Peter Harvey (Bass); Richard Boothby (Viol); Catherine Mackintosh (Violin); William Lockhart (Bells); Mark Bennett (Trumpet); Robert Woolley (Harpsichord); Tessa Bonner (Soprano); Peter Harvey (Bass); Steven Liley (Tenor); Matthew Dixon (Oboe)
  • Conductor: Catherine Mackintosh
  • Ensemble: Purcell Simfony
  • Running Time: 60 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1695
  • Language: English
  • Studio/Live: Studio