Purcell: Symphony while the swans come forward

Johannette Zomer soprano, La Sfera Armoniosa, Mike Fentross
Challenge Classics 72783

This live recording offers selections from Dioclesian, The Indian Queen, King Arthur and The Fairy Queen. The orchestra uses trumpets without fingerholes and bass violins with no 16’ sound. Unfortunately, they also use a lot of instruments of a percussive nature not specified by Purcell and, for me, this made for difficult listening. Other features best summed up as ‘arranging’might also raise at least the eyebrows if not actually the hackles of EMR readers. The singing also will not be to all tastes. I found the portamento, the vibrato and the over-inflection so that light syllables sometimes disappeared quite challenging at times. The booklet is in English only and does not include the sung texts.

David Hansell

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