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Purcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts - The Irish Times


02 September 2011
The Irish Times
Michael Dervan
5 Stars

Trio sonatas, confusingly, are usually performed by four players. And, even more confusingly, the two sets of trio sonatas by Henry Purcell bore apparently contradictory titles. His 1683 Ten Sonatas of Four Parts were succeeded by the posthumously published Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts . No matter. The sonatas are among the best you'll find, and manage a Janus-like feat of relishing new Italian developments while celebrating the involved contrapuntal writing of the English tradition of consort music. The sonatas are short and pithy, the 12 of the later set averaging just over six minutes each in the Retrospect Trio's performances, with only a single movement stretching

to over two minutes. But the Purcell's adventurous counterpoint and embrace of dissonant clashes, relished in these performances, ensure that, although the journeys are short, they are packed with meaningful incident.
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Purcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three PartsPurcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts