Monday, January 12, 2015

Polk and Carver Deliver Henry Purcell

Music appreciation continues at our house as my husband repaired his Carver receiver and bought some new deeply discounted Polk speakers. We played our new Rachel Podger CD (Guardian Angel) Saturday morning and then Mark wanted to test the system with a vocal CD and I selected this 1995 recording from the late Christopher Hogwood's The Academy of Ancient Music and Sylvia McNair of "The Music of Henry Purcell". The Echoing Air includes the following works:

‘If music be the food of love’
‘To arms, to arms, heroic prince’
‘Tell me, some pitying angel’
‘We come to sing’
‘Oh! Lead me to some peaceful gloom’
‘O solitude’
‘Hark! Hark! The echoing air’
‘Sweeter than Roses’
‘Fairest Isle’
‘She that would gain a faithful lover’
‘Cupid, the slyest rogue alive’
‘I attempt from love’s sickness to fly’
‘Music for a while’
‘The fatal hour comes on apace’
‘Hear, mighty love Plainte'
‘O let me weep’
Chacony in G minor

The fidelity on the Philips CD is excellent of course and we enjoyed the mixture of vocal and instrumental works. McNair has a clear, pure soprano that is well suited to Purcell's music, although I think she sings "The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation", "Tell me, some pitying angel," too placidly and like Frederica von Stade's first song recital version on the Sony label from 1978 for its greater expression and urgency. Mark was happy with the performance of the Carver receiver and the Polk speakers--the latter still need more breaking in: then we'll play Bruckner and Mahler!!

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