Notes & Reviews:
Beyond the dominating presence of Georg Friedrich Handel in English music from the 18th century there are to be found many enticing surprises, such as those contributed by William Hayes (17081777). His cycle of cantatas from 1748 provides original and humorous musical stories, graced by instrumentations unusual for the time and flecked with touching musical episodes. Hayes's choice of keys and orchestration develop from one work to the next, whilst the subject matter and texts employed in the works reflect, in a highly particular way, the individual milieu of Hayes in his teaching capacity at the University of Oxford. One strikingly mature composition comes in the shape of Orpheus and Euridice: an Ode (1735). It is hard to imagine that this was composed for the occasion of Hayes receiving his BMus at Oxford. Entirely set within the scene of Euridice's unsuccessful departure from Hades, Hayes lays out for our listening an exciting psychological study of the two lovers as their emotional states veer between desire and devastation... Anthony Rooley and his carefully chosen group of singers and instrumentalists linked to the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis here give us, following on from their dazzling 2010 reading of The Passions, a fresh new incursion into the previously little known compositional world of William Hayes, in this way contributing to Hayes's deserved placement once again as one of the leading contemporaries of Handel.
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