Cynthia’s Revels

In Cynthia’s Revels, a play by Ben Johnson, Queen Elizabeth I was represented as Cynthia, the virgin goddess of the moon. It included songs and dances, both of which the queen is known to have greatly enjoyed, so the Flautadors have used this theme to present a programme of instrumental music which might have been heard at Elizabeth’s court.

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Il Trionfo di Dori

This charming account of the Gardano publication of 1592 of madrigals composed by all the big Italian composers of the day, dedicated to Leonardo Sanuda and written in honour of his wife, Elisabetta Giustinian. Like a precursor of the Triumphs of Oriana, one has the sense that the composers are vying with one another

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A painted tale

The young American tenor Nicholas Phan has rightly attracted praise for his performances of Britten, with whose music he identifies. It is very noticeable that he has welcomed on board many elements of Pears’ style, notably the latter’s use (particularly in his later years) of acciaccatura – launching up to a higher note from the lower one, like a mini trampoline in front of a vaulting horse.

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