Collection: A Choice Collection of Music of Purcell’s London

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COMPOSERS: Locke,Matteris
LABELS: Linn
WORKS: Ayres for the Violin; Ground in G minor; John Come Kiss Me Now
PERFORMER: Palladian Ensemble: Pamela Thorby (recorders), Rachel Podger (violin), Susanne Heinrich (viola da gamba), William Carter (theorbo, guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: CKD 041

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I thought I had had enough of music from Purcell’s London after the plethora of issues and reissues of 1995. But no, as a coda to Purcell year comes ‘A Choice Collection’ from the Palladian Ensemble.

The group fields various-sized recorders, heard one at a time, violin, bass viola and theorbo or guitar. The programme, whose focal points are suites by Locke and Nicola Matteis, is a pleasing one. My own affections incline towards Matteis’s Ayres for the Violin. Diarist John Evelyn described him as ‘that stupendous Violin Signor Nicholao… whom certainly never mortal man Exceeded on that Instrument… was an excellent Composer also… & plaieed such ravishing things on a ground as astonish’d us all’ (1674).

Rachel Podger (violin) is an eloquent advocate for the music, which she plays with vitality and refinement. But what makes the disc irresistible is her performance of Thomas Baltzar’s variations on ‘John come kiss me now’. Its folksong character is beautifully captured with an infectious rhythmic lift and here, as throughout, Podger is imaginatively supported by the continuo players.

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Just as appealing are variations on ‘Old Simon the King’ and Blow’s Ground in G minor, both of which feature recorder virtuosity. Enchanting! Nicholas Anderson