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Purcell & Blow: Elegy - Countertenor Duets

By John Blow

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Composed by John Blow (1649-1708) and Henry Purcell (1659-1695). Classical. CD. Naxos #VIVAT118. Published by Naxos (NX.VIVAT118).

Item Number: NX.VIVAT118

World-renowned countertenor Iestyn Davies, partnered by outstanding young countertenor James Hall and The King's Consort, turns his attention to the music of Henry Purcell and his colleague John Blow. This beautifully themed programme of solos and duets centers on elegies, and concludes with Blow's magnificent 'Ode on the death of Purcell'. Rarely heard together on one recording are a set of three substantial elegies composed by Purcell and Blow to commemorate the untimely death of the much-loved Queen Mary. Two of these ingeniously take the same text, one in English (by Blow - a particularly fine work), the other in Latin (Purcell). Another highlight is Iestyn's seraphic rendition of the melancholy masterpiece, 'O solitude'. Around these come duets both famous and less familiar, including 'Hark how the songsters', Blow's ravishing 'Ah, heav'n, what is't I hear?', the deliciously languid 'In vain the am'rous flute' and, of course, 'Sound the trumpet'. The death of Queen Mary, which spurred London's two leading composers into doleful elegiac action, was soon to be followed by a greater musical calamity: the loss of Henry Purcell. John Blow's outstanding 'Ode on the death of Mr. Henry Purcell' is not only a heartfelt tribute to his colleague, but one of the most outstanding English works of the era. Iestyn Davies shows himself to be a true master of this repertoire, beautifully partnered by James Hall and by an ensemble which has dominated the world of Purcell recordings for more than thirty years. The recording was made in the world-class recording hall, Alpheton New Maltings, demonstrating its exceptional acoustic of striking clarity and warmth.

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