Purcell: Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts

The King’s Consort
76:59
Vivat 110

I first got to know these pieces intimately at unversity, where they were a “set work” in my first year at St Andrews University. Latterly I had been re-acquainted with them, often playing them with my much-missed friend, Selene Mills, at her home in Cambridge. I fear we never sounded anything like this! Is there anyone active today more immersed in Purcell’s musical world that Robert King and his King’s Consort colleagues?

Two young violinists and an experienced continuo team combine perfectly to produce a CD of rare beauty and endless reward; where some seek to draw attention to the architecture of Purcell’s complex contrapuntal writing or irregular phrases with sharp accents and dramatic changes in dynamic, these performances are more subtle and more relaxed than any I have ever heard. The music unfolds in an organic way, the counterpoint, the rather awkward sounding melodies and harmonic piquancy readily audible but not hightlighted artificially. Robert King’s ever thoughtful booklet note not only gives all the background you could ever need to the set’s genesis, he also provides a work-by-work guide in which (thank goodness, for once!) readable English – and presumably French and German, too – rules. Like the diamonds on the packaging, this release is every bit the precious gem. Do not miss it!

Brian Clark

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