Sunday, 10 February 2008

52. Henry Purcell - Fantasias (1680)


Title: Fantazias
Performers: Rose Consort of Viols
Length: 53 minutes
Year: 1995


If you asked my who my favourite viol composers are I would have to say François Couperin or Msrs. De Ste. Colombe (Pére and Fils) or Marin Marais, Purcell would not be in the top 5 really. And after listening to this recording the situation hasn't really shifted that much, I would thank the people on the editing team of this book to try to sell me British music for the sake of it. Ok, I know that after Purcell there will be no significant British composer until the 20th century (with the exception of Handel who was actually German, much like the Royal Family), but there is no need to toot your own horn.

Rant over, this is in no way bad, actually it is pretty good, only that I feel that better stuff was left out of the list for this to be included. But this is some pretty atmospheric music for Viol consort, and yes it is good. After a deep breath and a glass of water I have to admit to quite liking it, and that Purcell while being out of my Top 5 might just possibly make my Top 10. I am sorry I'm grumpy.

Purcell's Fantasias and In Nomines for the Viol are mainly sombre affairs, with the occasional light beam shinning through it, one of the best things about them however is the way in which Purcell is not afraid to create dissonances or to linger in a not for a very long time, making the work quite unexpected at times. But it isn't AMAZING, it's just nice.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Purcell is among the Baroque composers who has had a direct influence on modern rock and roll; according to Pete Townshend of The Who, Purcell was among his influences, particularly evident in the opening bars of The Who's "Pinball Wizard." The title song from the soundtrack of the film A Clockwork Orange is from Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary". Meanwhile, noted cult New Wave artist Klaus Nomi regularly performed "The Cold Song" from King Arthur during his career, including a version on his debut self-titled album, Klaus Nomi, from 1981; his last public performance before his untimely death was an interpretation of the piece done with a full orchestra in December 1982 in Munich.

Here an In Nomine, which are basically Fantasias based on the In Nomine setting:

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