Purcell: Songs & Dances (CD)

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Tim Mead, Les Musiciens De Saint-Julien, Francois Lazarevitch

Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, guided by François Lazarevitch’s virtuoso flute, have already led us along the roads of Ireland and Scotland, notably the High Road to Kilkenny, a great success in 2016. This time, they venture into England with an essentially secular programme devoted to Henry Purcell (1659-95), varying the mood by alternating between instrumental dances and songs performed by the English countertenor Tim Mead, including ‘O Solitude’ and ‘What power art thou’. While Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien have chosen these celebrated pieces for pleasure above all, with this English programme they also fill in a new piece in their jigsaw map of the United Kingdom. At the same time, they demonstrate the musical porosity of Ireland, Scotland and England – and the atypical colors of the small string ensemble complemented by two flutes, a harp and harpsichord/lute continuo further underline the fact. The common thread, dear to Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, is that of folk music lying at the heart of art music, in a mixture of origins, practices and repertories. We can easily recognize ‘Scotch and Irish tunes’ that Purcell incorporates in his overtures, jigs, hornpipes and chaconnes. The countertenor Tim Mead punctuates the dances with songs composed for the operatic or dramatic stage or for chamber performance.

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Sunday Times

"Reactions to this absorbing and revelatory disc will, I suspect, depend on how one responds to the “Frenchified” Purcell of François Lazarevitch’s Saint-Julien musicians. I heartily approve of their imaginative, improvisatory approach, which brings some of the instrumental music...close to the realms of their speciality, Celtic folk music."

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  1. Amphytrion, Z.572: Minuet – Hornpipe – Boree
  2. Come Ye Sons Of Art (Birthday Ode For Queen Mary ), Z.323/5: 'Strike The Viol, Touch The Lute'
  3. ‘O Solitude, My Sweetest Choice’ , Z.406
  4. Pavan In G Minor , Z.752
  5. Ode For St Cecilia’s Day, Z.339: ‘Here The Deities Approve’
  6. The Old Bachelor, Z.607: Hornpipe
  7. Love’s Goddess Sure Was Blind (Birthday Ode For Queen Mary ), Z.331: May Her Blest Example Chase / Jig (Tune: ‘Hey Boys, Up Go We’) / Suite In G Major, Z.770: Borry
  8. King Arthur, Z.628: ‘Fairest Isle’ 
  9. King Arthur, Z.628: ‘What Power Art Thou’
  10. The Virtuous Wife, Z.611: Aire
  11. ‘Twas Within A Furlong Of Edinboro’ Town’ (Scots Song), Z.605/2
  12. Amphytrion, Z.572: Scotch Tune
  13. If Ever I More Riches Did Desire, Cantata, Z.544: ‘Here Let My Life With As Much Silence Slide’
  14. Fantazia Upon A Ground , Z.731
  15. Ode For St Cecilia’s Day, Z.328: ‘ ‘Tis Nature’s Voice’
  16. The Married Beau, Z.603: March
  17. Timon Of Athen, Z.632: Curtain Tune
  18. ‘We The Spirits Of The Air’, The Indian Queen, Z.630: Song Tune
  19. The Fairy Queen, Z.629: ‘One Charming Night’
  20. The Fairy Queen, Z.629: Chaconne