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Alfred Deller: The Complete Vanguard Recordings Volume 2 — Music of Henry Purcell (6 CDs)

Alfred Deller: The Complete Vanguard Recordings Volume 2 — Music of Henry Purcell (6 CDs)

$ 19.99 $ 39.99

Vanguard's "Bach Guild" created a sensation starting in the mid-1950s with their revelatory recordings of British composer Henry Purcell, undertaken by the partnership of the label's enterprising founder Seymour Solomon and countertenor Alfred Deller, whose strong affinity for Purcell's music brought this then-rare repertoire to life and greatly intensified interest in a composer now seen as not only one of the most important British composers of all time but a Baroque firebrand whose highly original music achieves some of the highest artistic marks of the era. The present collection is the first comprehensive recording of all of Deller's Purcell recordings for Vanguard in one volume: Homage to Henry Purcell Music of Purcell Dido and Aeneas Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day Welcome to All the Pleasures The Masque in Dioclesian Come Ye Sons of Art

This second volume of Vanguard's reissued recordings of Alfred Deller and his consort comprises works by Purcell, the composer most closely associated with Deller, and consists of six CDs, well packaged and with a CD-Rom giving access to more detailed information. The first two present a mixed programme of songs, duets and instrumental pieces. The third has a complete performance of Dido and Aeneas conducted by Deller and recorded in 1965. The remaining discs include the Odes to St Cecilia, Come, ye Sons of Art and music for the Masque in Dioclesian, the whole collection ending with Blow's Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell.
In his middle and later years Deller habitually lightened notes above the centre of his range, so that his style became somewhat predictable and the evenness of his production somewhat impaired. That accounts for main differences between these later performances of such 'signature' pieces as 'Music for a While' and 'Sweeter than Roses': the purity of tone, the extraordinary resonance of lower and middle notes, the technical skill and sensitivity of his singing all remain. As a conductor, he had difficulties, and it cannot be claimed that the Dido is a success.
Some stodgy speeds and sluggish rhythms, a pantomime coven of witches, a Dido lacking nobility of tone and an Aeneas out of oratorio make it hard for other contributions (most notably Helen Watts's sorceress) to have their due effect. Still, no doubt the best way of avoiding disappointment is to be prepared for it.
That Deller could conduct well, holding his place along with the highly professional Harnoncourt in his Dioclesian and the very personally involved Tippett in Hail, bright Cecilia, is evident in the Odes. Stylish playing by George Malcolm and other instrumentalists (including the young violinist Neville Marriner) gives further pleasure. The album celebrated not only Deller himself but his generation who did so much to bring Purcell out of the text books, the full range of his genius revealed.”


Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), John Whitworth (counter-tenor), Christopher Taylor (recorder), Richard Taylor (recorder), Anne Shuttleworth (cello) Walter Bergmann (harpsichord)

Dido and Aeneas
Mary Thomas (soprano), Honor Sheppard (soprano), Ellen Dales (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Choir and Orchestra, Alfred Deller

Hail! Bright Cecilia (Ode for St Cecilia's Day 1692), Z328
April Cantelo (soprano), Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Peter Salmon (counter-tenor), Wilfred Brown (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone), John Frost (bass), George Eskdale (solo trumpet), Leonard Friedman (violin), Eli Goren (violin), Richard Taylor (treble recorder), Stanley Taylor (treble recorder), Peter Graeme (oboe), Edward Selwyn (oboe), Philip Jones (trumpet), Denis Clift (trumpet), Alan Taylor (tympani), Anna Shuttleworth (cello and basso continuo), Francis Baines (cello and basso continuo), Denis Vaughan (harpsichord)
Ambrosian Singers / Kalmar Chamber Orchestra of London, Sir Michael Tippett

Welcome to all the pleasures (from Ode for St Cecilia's Day 1683), Z339
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), April Cantelo (soprano), Eileen McLoughlin (soprano), Gerald English (tenor), Owen Grundy (baritone), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Kalmar Chamber Orchestra, Alfred Deller

Come ye sons of art (Ode for Queen Mary's birthday, 1694), Z 323
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Mark Deller (counter-tenor), Mary Thomas (soprano), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Choir and Orchestra, Alfred Deller

My beloved spake, Z28
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), April Cantelo (soprano), Gerald English (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Kalmar Orchestra of London, Alfred Deller

Rejoice in the Lord alway ('The Bell Anthem'), Z49
Alfred Deller (counter-tenor), Mary Thomas (soprano), Honor Sheppard (soprano), Max Worthley (tenor), Robert Tear (tenor), Maurice Bevan (baritone)
Oriana Concert Orchestra, Alfred Deller


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