Williams, D & H Purcell, Corbett, Haym, Paisible, Pepusch, Keller, Finger & Handel

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Corbett,D & H Purcell,Finger & Handel,Haym,Keller,Paisible,Pepusch,Williams
ALBUM TITLE: A Noble Entertainment
WORKS: Music from Queen Anne’s London
PERFORMER: Parnassian Ensemble
The core of this programme is


nine trio sonatas/suites for two

treble recorders and continuo,

their sameness relieved by a cello

sonata, a recorder duo and a Purcell

harpsichord suite. The playing

is admirably neat – intonation

virtually flawless, ensemble taut, and

decorations stylish. The opening

trio by William Williams is wittily

‘in immitation [sic] of Birds’ while

the last, Handel’s only recorder trio,

HWV405, throws into high relief the

difference between true inspiration

and commendable craftsmanship.

Recorded sound is crisp and

immediate, though sometimes

over-emphasising the cello. Peter

Holman’s notes are a model of

accessible, relevant scholarship.

High points include the Purcell

Suite played on a fine harpsichord,

a copy of a Netherlands instrument

which had been imported to Paris and

enlarged. Its silvery tone adds pathos

to Purcell’s poignant upward leaningnotes.

The cello sonata, by Nicola

Haym, opens with strikingly dolorous

double-stopping, followed by a 36-

second throw-away allegro.

The other pieces – by Corbett,

Pepusch, Keller, Finger – are seldom

more than trifles. Each section

of their short binary movements

flash by in a few seconds, too brief

to make a deep impression. They

continue, though, to provide ‘a Noble

Entertainment’ as readily now as for

the public audiences of early 18thcentury


London. George Pratt