If: Michael Nyman & Henry Purcell (CD)

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Iestyn Davies, Fretwork

When Michael Nyman started reinventing the English baroque back in the 1980s, one critic described the result as “pump-action Purcell.” This recording combines these two singular musical styles through the stunning voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies and viol consort Fretwork, serving as the bridge across three centuries.

The programme combines bold harmonies, wondrous inventions and melodies that will haunt your dreams - whether from the 17th Century or the 21st. Recorded following a concert tour of the programme, the disc includes the premiere recording of a new commission from Michael Nyman, Music after a While - based upon Purcell’s song, or more particularly upon its strikingly original bassline, with its insidious rising chromatics.

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Gramophone Editor's Choice - May 2019

“This was a near-perfect concert, contrasting two composers whose links are stronger than many people might think and performed by musicians at the top of their profession.” - Early Music Reviews

"Nyman’s art has finesse and more...The instrumental Music After a While, here following its Purcell model, thoroughly entices in its complexity." - The Sunday Times

"Purcell’s Evening Hymn showcase Davies’s famed vocal purity, but so too does the exquisite title song, Nyman’s If...Anyone who thinks Nyman’s music stops at his hallmark pulsing rhythms and prominent bass lines will find variety and introspective beauty here, all executed with perfection." - The Observer

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  1. Michael Nyman: No Time in Eternity
  2. Michael Nyman arr. Richard Boothby: Balancing the Books
  3. Michael Nyman arr. Richard Boothby, From “The Diary of Anne Frank”: If\
  4. Michael Nyman arr. Richard Boothby, From “The Diary of Anne Frank”: Why
  5. Henry Purcell arr. Richard Boothby: Music for a While, Z 583 No. 2
  6. Michael Nyman: Music after a While
  7. Henry Purcell arr. Silas Wolston: Evening Hymn, Z 193
  8. Michael Nyman: The Self-Laudatory Hymn of Inanna and her Omnipotence
  9. Henry Purcell arr. Richard Boothby: O Solitude, my Sweetest Choice, Z 406