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Purcell – Love Resor’d (Ceruleo)

Ceruleo (Resonus)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Purcell – Love Restor’d
Songs from the English Restoration: Blow: Laudate Nomen Domini; The Queen’s Epicedium; Corbetta: Chaconne; J Eccles: Haste, give me wings; Purcell: The Fairy Queen – extracts; Don Quixote – ‘From Rosy Bow’rs’ etc
Resonus RES10308   62:02 mins


There are some half a dozen recordings of Purcell’s songs in the catalogues, but there seems to be only one (The King’s Consort box set on Hyperion) which attempts all 90 of them. That said, this album from Ceruleo is a very pleasingly balanced collection of (mostly) items from stage works together with an array of quietly glittering instrumental pieces, not all by Purcell – Blow, Eccles and Corbetta (who came from France with Charles II) also make an appearance.

Sopranos Emily Owen and Jenni Harper are at their best in the duet from Dioclesian, ‘O the sweet delights of love’, where they control the waves of ecstasy with technical aplomb and conviction, and they blend impressively in the reflective ‘O dive custos’ on the death of Queen Mary. Harper nicely sustains the poise and purity of her voice throughout the plaintive ‘O let me weep’ (from The Fairy Queen), though she needed a little more colour and dramatic edge in the changing landscapes of feigned madness in ‘From rosy bowr’s’ (Don Quixote) – a feat which Emily Owen managed more convincingly in the quicksilver changes of Eccles’s mad song ‘Haste! Give me wings’ (The Fickle Shepherdes).

The instrumentalists are very good. Toby Carr’s accompaniment to ‘Crown the Altar’ is exceptionally delicate and finely woven; Satoko Doi-Luck is a great advocate of Purcell’s little-performed harpsichord music (Suite No. 6 in D major); and Kate Conway on viola da gamba is steady and secure throughout. Here and there the recording is a little unbalanced.


Anthony Pryer