Purcell: Dido & Aeneas

‘Dido-on-Sea’? Or ‘Dido and Aeneas go to the Circus’? Whatever construct is put on this conception it will hardly be sufficient to convey just how bizarre it is. Where to start? Well, as is not uncommon in these benighted days, the stage directions are largely ignored. [...]

Vinci: Catone in Utica

First given in Rome at the Teatro delle Dame in January 1728, Catone in Utica was the first collaboration between Leonardo Vinci and Metastasio. In accordance with the Papal decree forbidding women on the Roman opera stage, it was given with an all-male cast, a format followed in this first recording, with countertenors taking the female parts. [...]

Monteverdi: L’Orfeo

This is a re-packaging of a popular staging of Orfeo which previously appeared as an opusArte DVD, and which I saw at the Edinburgh Festival (with a slightly different cast) a few years ago. Savall swept into the auditorium with a flowing black gown (looking for all the world like Professor Snape on a mission) and the music burst forth. [...]

Rore: Ancor che col partire

This is somewhat variable. The first of the six early versions of Ancor che col partire, spread through the 19 tracks, makes clear that this was one of the famous adaptations. [...]

Müthel: The Five Keyboard Concertos

I was very impressed by the playing of this young Polish harpschordist when he recently accompanied Rachel Podger for the Georgian Concert Society in Edinburgh and these two CDs confirm him as a formidable talent. [...]

Alma, svegliate ormai

It may be that I was a little frottoled-out when I came to review this CD, but its exploration of Italian popular music refurnished with devotional texts failed to engage me. [...]

Mozart: Mass in C minor

Although this performance has aged well, for me it still lags behind the Eliot Gardiner version. Unusually for a Herreweghe recording, I was aware of a little too much micro-management, especially at cadences. [...]

I have set my hert so hy

This delightfully fresh selection of Medieval English music on the theme of love and devotion features the familiar ‘naïve’ playing style of the Collective matched by beautifully unmannered singing from the three singers of Voice. [...]
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