Purcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts - MusicWeb International

The Retrospect Ensemble have already recorded Purcell's Sonatas in Four Parts (Linn CKD332 - see June 2009 Roundup). Now they complete the set with the three-part works, in which they are just as recommendable if not even more so. With good recording and all twelve works complete on one CD, this is a serious rival to the Chandos recording from the eponymous Purcell Quartet, now available only as a download from theclassicalshop.net. The 3- and 4-part Sonnatas (Purcell's spelling) are available on a 2-disc set, complete with the 3-part Pavans (CHAN0572) or, less generously, on three separate albums (CHAN8591, 8663, 8763). In just one respect, namely the artwork, the Chandos recordings are preferable. I do hope that the failure of the Chandos CDs to sell doesn't mean that the Linn recordings will meet the same fate: this is fine music, though I wouldn't recommend sitting through both discs in one go. The new recording is very good, especially in lossless sound, though there were some very minor hiatuses where the music is continuous between tracks, even using the Winamp player which usually smoothes these over.

01 October 2011