MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
The Purcell Edition 2 - Theatre Music
Track-listing at end of review
Monteverdi Choir, Monteverdi Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner Lynne Dawson, Rosemary Hardy, Gillian Fisher, Dinah Harris, Jennifer Smith, Dawn Upshaw (sopranos)
Carol Hall (mezzo)
Ashley Stafford (counter-tenor)
Rogers Covey-Crump, Paul Elliott, Martyn Hill, John Elwes (tenors)
Stephen Varcoe (baritone)
David Thomas, Roderick Earle, Michael George (basses)
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, February 1979 (The Indian Queen, The Tempest), Rosslyn Chapel, London, December 1987 (Timon of Athens, Dioclesian), Air Studios, London, January 1995 (The Married beau, Abdelazer), American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, April 2000 (Music for a while, Ah! How sweet it is to love, If music be the food of love). DDD
WARNER CLASSICS & JAZZ 2564 691990 [4 CDs: 62.41 + 61.53 + 52.47 + 70.08]

Experience Classicsonline

The first CD on this four-disc set of Purcell’s music for theatre features The Indian Queen – of which John Eliot Gardiner produces a good sprightly performance – bright, purposeful and spirited – a promising start. The Tempest, however, on the next disc, is less impressive. Rather on the heavy side, the orchestral playing here is too measured, deliberate and dull – lacking in subtlety. The lack of fluidity in the performance is exemplified by the ponderous quality and laboured feel of movements such as Halcyon Days, now wars are ending, you shall find wheree’er you sail. In fact, we only really get some light and shade in an otherwise monochrome performance at the very final movement, No stars again shall hurt you from above, which is beautifully characterful. Mezzo-soprano Carol Hall’s Ariel is very pedestrian – not at all ethereal or sprightly, and it sounds as if she were sight-reading the part rather than performing and communicating it – mechanical and studied, emotionless and rather lacklustre, with no characterization. David Thomas and Roderick Earle are far more believable as the Devils – excellent performances from these two basses. The second disc ends with two fillers, the Overture from the comedy The Married Beau and the Rondeau from Abdelazer, or the Moor's Revenge (best known from Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra). It is rather disappointing that these two movements alone from these works are included here.

Disc 3 presents a lively performance of Timon of Athens, with all soloists on top form - although I found Gillian Fisher a little light-weight in her roles here. The first three Acts of Dioclesian complete disc 3 and fill most of disc 4. The opening I found rather on the slow side – the First Music too measured and plodding, although the Second Music and Third Music are brisker. The soloists are again on typically good form, although Stephen Varcoe occasionally comes across as a little reserved and distant. Rogers Covey-Crump is superbly expressive as a Follower of Cupid – although sometimes (as in Still I’m wishing, still desiring) his performance is a little on the fussy side, and the trio in Act II (Michael George, Stephen Varcoe and Paul Elliott) is outstanding – beautifully articulated. Lynne Dawson is also excellent – wonderfully flexible and bright, and whilst Gillian Fisher is more measured (sometimes a little too much so), these two sopranos together are exceptional – perfectly phrased and beautifully blended (as in the Act V Masque Ah! The Sweet delights of love). Some of the purely orchestral sections are also very good – such as the Act Five Passepied and later Dance. Tempi seem appropriate and sensible, and I especially liked the subtle rhythm changes in Make Room, make room for the great God of Wine. This final disc concludes with three familiar and much-loved songs as fillers - Music for a while, Ah! How sweet it is to love and If music be the food of love. Dawn Upshaw is the excellent soprano here, accompanied by sensitive Arthur Haas on harpsichord and Myron Lutzke on cello.

As a general rule, Gardiner does not achieve the same heights of tension, intensity and passion that others - such as Alfred Deller and Consentus Musicus - do, and he doesn’t seem to bring out the best in his soloists; even such top singers as Stephen Varcoe and Rogers Covey-Crump are slightly disappointing. The booklet notes also leave something to be desired – they are neither terribly full nor particularly clear. All in all, therefore, a rather mixed set – with some superb moments, but some others that are slightly below par, prevent me from whole-heartedly endorsing this set.

Em Marshall


CD 1
The Indian Queen [62.41]
CD 2
The Tempest [57.37]
The Married Beau: Overture [2.42]
Abdelazer, or the Moor's Revenge: Rondeau [1.34]
CD 3
Timon of Athens [22.10]
Dioclesian Acts I-III [31.39]
CD 4
Dioclesian Acts III-V [60.09]
Music for a while [3.20]
Ah! How sweet it is to love [2.51]
If music be the food of love [3.51]








Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.