Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Purcell, Henry - The Fairy Queen - Christie, Les Arts Florissants







Of the five semi-operas by Purcell, the Fairy Queen has long been a favorite. It is packed with terrific music and has some of the best dances Purcell ever wrote. Purcell's music, despite sounding very English at times, shows a definite French influence, and William Christie brings that to the fore here.

The number of soloists used is vast, and many of them are absolute top names in early music (Nancy Argenta, Lynne Dawson, Isabelle Desrochers, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau, Noémi Rime, Charles Daniels, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Bernard Deletré, etc.). The Choir and Orchestra are one of the best around.

Very interesting is the use of authentic Baroque bassoons. These French instruments make some very beautiful and characterful music. In the high register, they sound a little like French horns. I had to check the cd when I first heard this recording - I could have sworn that Henry Purcell didn't score any horns in this work! I also love the rich continuo group he employs, which lends some of the pieces a real rhythmic punch.The use of low pitch (a=392hz) is great in that it allows for all the alto parts to be taken by haute-contre voices, and when you have Fouchecourt, Daniels, and Randall on your roster, why not? 


flac, covers


  1. Sorry part 1 and 7 can't be downloaded. I re-up them now...

  2. Thank you so much!! I've been looking for this version for a very very long time: my friend used to have it, than he lost it, and we've been listening since to the Gardiner version which sounds a bit bland! Thank you so much for allowing us to hear Christies's version again!


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