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Purcell: Ten Sonatas in Four Parts - Listen


04 November 2009
Listen
David Vernier

Here is a very pleasant seventy-plus minutes of listening, not only for Purcell fans bit for anyone who enjoys the well-matched timbres, agreeable ambience and eminently stylish playing of real baroque violins, bass viol and harpsichord (or organ) performed in an ideally, intimately resonant setting. These ten sonatas, published posthumously in 1697, are the second set of a total of twenty-two such works (the first twelve appeared in 1863), and they contain all of the hallmarks of Purcell's writing that are so immediately ingratiating to the ear and appealing to the emotions. These include tension-building dissonances and chromatic ascending/descending harmonies (the final Adagio of Sonata V, the opening of Sonata VIII); lovely, play-them-again, heartrending melodies (opening movement of Sonata II); lively rhythms (Canzona of Sonata VII); and the always-clever counterpoint combined with catchy tunes.

The performances here - Sophie Gent and Matthew Truscott (violin), Jonathan Manson (bass viol), Matthew Halls (harpsichord & organ) - are first rate, expertly articulation both the ebullient counterpoint and weightier slow-movement harmonies with scintillating clarity and stylish regard for sometimes abrupt shifts of mood and color from movement to movement. Needless to say, the sound, recorded in a Berkshire, UK church, is absolutely spot-on.


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Retrospect TrioRetrospect Trio
Henry Purcell: Ten Sonatas in Four PartsHenry Purcell: Ten Sonatas in Four Parts