Magazine article Gramophone

All That Survives of the Younger Purcell's Instrumental Music

Magazine article Gramophone

All That Survives of the Younger Purcell's Instrumental Music

Article excerpt

D Purcell

'The Unknown Purcell: Sonatas by Daniel Purcell' Chaconne in Aminor. Rondeau in Bflat. Solos--in A; in Bminor; in D. Sonatas--in A; in A; in Bminor; in D; in D; in Fminor. Suite in Dminor. Toccata in Aminor. Alass when charming Sylvia's gon. Lovely Charmer. What ungrateful devil moves you Hazel Brooks vn David Pollock hpd Chandos Chaconne (F) CHAN0795 (76' * DDD)

Daniel Purcell--who was younger than Henry Purcell and outlived him by more than 20 years and who, according to Peter Holman, was more likely to have been his cousin than his brother was trained as a choirboy and organist but spent most of his career writing for the London stage (contributing music to some 40 productions) and for public concerts. Among his surviving works are his arrangements of theatre music for solo harpsichord, some of which found their way into popular published collections of the day, as well as his own edition of violin sonatas.

Although three of the six sonatas have been recorded before (Et'cetera, 1999), most of the music on this disc, dating from the late 1690s and early 1700s, will be new to listeners and represents all that survives of his instrumental music. Charming if not memorable, most of the pieces are short and make relatively modest demands on the performers, so were probably intended mainly for private music-making.

In the booklet biographies, Hazel Brooks and David Pollock express their intention to develop performances that highlight the versatility of the harpsichord as the sole continuo instrument. This, however, has inclined them to go their separate ways: Brooks, who is an accomplished and knowledgeable performer, contributes remarkably straight-toned readings with minimal rhetoric and ornamentation, while Pollock pursues amore expressive and stylish approach, both as Brooks's accompanist and as a soloist. …

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