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CD Review

Orpheus with his Lute

Music for Shakespeare from Purcell to Arne

  • Jeremiah Clarke: Overture to Titus Andronicus
  • John Weldon: Take, O take those lips away
  • John Eccles: Can life be a blessing?
  • Thomas Chilcot:
  • Pardon, goddess of the night
  • Orpheus with his lute
  • Hark, hark the lark
  • Maurice Greene: Orpheus with his lute
  • Thomas Arne:
  • To fair Fidele's Grassy Tomb
  • Honour, riches, marriage blessing
  • Where the bee sucks, there lurk I
  • When icicles hang on the wall
  • When daisies pied and violets blue
  • John Christopher Smith: You spotted snakes, Full fathom five
  • Robert Woodcock: Concerto #9 in E minor
  • Willem de Fesch: All fancy sick
  • John Weldon: Dry those eyes which are o'erflowing
  • Henry Purcell: Dear Pretty Youth
Catherine Bott, soprano
The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman
Hyperion CDA67450 66m DDD
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Hyperion's 'English Orpheus' continues with this exquisite release featuring varied instrumental pieces and vocal songs all based on the works of the great playwright, William Shakespeare. The well tried and tested Catherine Bott teams up with The Parley of Instruments for an hour long disc that makes for very pleasant listening.

The pieces by Arne are substantial and include some wonderfully effervescent and vivacious music. I hugely enjoyed the rarely heard 'When icicles hang on the wall' and the lovely erotic setting of 'When daisies pied and violets blue'. There was also a lot to discover from composers such as Thomas Chilcot and the gorgeous concerto by Woodcock. The rousing Clarke overture also makes an excellent prelude to the disc.

Catherine Bott is a ravishingly beautiful voice in all the pieces and this can be seen as one of her most satisfying contributions to the period instrument genre. Peter Holman's Parley of Instruments obviously know the subtle feel and nuances of this music and as such the project is another collection of magnificent British music in the continually surprising English Orpheus series that should not be missed.

Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech