Lea-Cox continues recording William Boyce's qualitative odes with aplomb and this latest issue contains two of his finest examples in the genre. 'Pindar's Ode' was first heard in Dublin in 1741 and is indeed a grand heroic setting containing around twenty numbers. The Overture is in typical baroque fashion with three movements and there are also some significant choruses especially 'Musick rules the world above' and the concluding 'Fair as Summer's Evening Skies'. The two boy sopranos indeed have ethereal voices that blend beautifully with the often heavenly music, a demonstration of the high standard that Boyce achieves in these choral compositions. Recitatives and ariosos abound aplenty here but all is executed with consummate ease and lavish beauty by Cox and his period instrument team. The 'Ode for the New Year, 1774' is similarly ebullient and good- humoured, here Boyce relishes the prospect of such an occasion with some inspired writing. Once again, there is much to enjoy in the opening Overture, which takes up almost seven minutes. The naval power of Britain is demonstrated by 'And all that pomp', characterfully sung by Daniels and George. The presentation is indeed superb with a lovely painting on the front cover and full texts that add to the enjoyment of listening. Cox and Higginbottom direct their ensembles with knowing dexterity and panache. A most satisfying issue that continues to bolster Boyce's reputation.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech