Magazine article Opera Canada

Theatre Music II

Magazine article Opera Canada

Theatre Music II

Article excerpt

THEATRE MUSIC II

PURCELL

Naxos: 8.573280

Kevin Mallon and his Toronto-based Aradia Ensemble continue to unearth little-known music from the Baroque era with this most enjoyable second volume of theatre music by Henry Purcell. The texture of the ensemble, which features just eight strings plus harpsichord, oboe, recorder and percussion (tambourine is prevalent), is airy and thus allows for superb transparency at every turn.

The disc incorporates incidental music and songs from plays rather than operas, but as Caroline Waight points out in her note on the release, the originals are more in the vein of "semi-operas" in which the main cast of actors would not necessarily be called upon to sing. Instead, the minor characters would be more likely to take on the occasional singing roles. Two instrumental suites are included: The Married Beau, described as a "somewhat risque comedy written by John Crown," and The Old Bachelor by William Congreve, scored late in Purcell s admittedly short career since the play received its premiere only two years before the composers death. …

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