Artist of the Month - Dunedin Consort - Acis & Galatea
This month's featured artist is Dunedin Consort. Join us as we take a look back at Dunedin's previous Handel recording: Acis & Galatea (2008). With contributions from director John Butt and producer Philip Hobbs, these retrospectives will give you the story behind the recording and introduce you to some exceptional music.
Under the direction of John Butt, the Dunedin Consort produced a fresh and dynamic interpretation of the Original Cannons Version of Handel's pastoral entertainment. Acis & Galatea was Handel's first substantial dramatic work in English and tells the story of Acis, a young shepherd from Sicily and his lover, the nymph Galatea. It is a simple story that John Butt complements by considerably simplifying the forces from the original, with no violas, fewer violins and a reduced chorus of just five.
‘...the chief strength of this account lies in the excellent instrumental playing in Butt's careful attention to tempo.'
BBC Music Magazine
'Recording of the Month' Gramophone Magazine
'[Butt] gets the forces right: a soprano, three tenors and a bass, who are not only excellent soloists but blend as the chorus.' Early Music Review
‘Building A Library: First Choice'
BBC Radio 3 - CD Review
‘The soloists are nigh perfect - not only is every word of [the] text crystal clear and tuning immaculate, but the freshness with which they sing radiates joy throughout the entire score.'
Classical FM Magazine
Gramophone Award Finalist
'...an unstarry yet sparkling cast.'
‘Opus d'Or Award' Winner
Vocal Disc of the Month: 'the freshness with which they sing radiates joy throughout the entire score' Opera Magazine
Historical fact: Handel wrote his 'miniature opera' Acis & Galatea while at Cannons - the home of the Earl of Caernarvon, later Duke of Chandos, whose small group of singers and players is recreated here in meticulous detail by John Butt.
Producer recommendation: Philip Hobbs recommends the track ‘Air: O ruddier than the cherry' which is, in his opinion, one of the best 100 pieces ever written!
Director John Butt's insider tip: The junction between the duet ‘Happy, happy we!' and the chorus ‘Wretched lovers!' creates one of the most striking wrenches in Acis & Galatea, articulated by a break in later performances of the masque but apparently continuous at Cannons. To re-create this historical continuity choose the download and listen gaplessly (unfortunately, it is impossible to convey this continuity on CD).
Classical FM Magazine
Still to come this month: Bach's Mass in B minor and Matthew Passion plus on the Easter weekend, the Consort's Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel's Messiah.