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Daniel PURCELL (c. 1670 - 1717)
The Unknown Purcell
Hazel Brooks (violin); David Pollock (harpsichord)
rec. 1-4 August 2011, Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Summertown, Oxford. DDD
Text included
Complete track-listing below
CHANDOS CHAN 0795 [73:32]

A word about the title “The Unknown Purcell”. Daniel Purcell was the younger brother or first cousin of the great Henry. Well-known in his time, he was a composer of incidental music and something of a bon-vivant. Henry’s incomplete Indian Queen was completed by Daniel. He composed in most forms of the time and a fair amount of his music has been recorded (review review). Since most of the pieces on this disc are premiere recordings (see exception) we can perhaps ascribe the title “unknown” to these pieces rather than to Daniel.
 
Purcell published two sets of six “solos” or sonatas each for violin or recorder in 1698 and 1710. This disc contains all the 1698 sonatas and three of the 1710. I found the 1698 pieces more interesting than the later ones, especially the lovely Sonata in A major [tracks 23-27] and the more reflective Sonata in D major [tracks 41-44]. This last is perhaps the highlight of the disc. The 1710 D major Sonata [tracks 3-7] is the most attractive of the three from that year, although a little less interesting than its predecessor.
 
This disc also contains the majority of Purcell’s pieces for harpsichord, all but one of them deriving from incidental music. The free-standing Toccata [track 1] is brisk and lively. The enjoyable Suite from 1708 [tracks 17-22] is an arrangement of music from a play by George Farquhar and the other harpsichord pieces are arrangements of songs from various plays - all are quite appealing.
 
Hazel Brooks is technically very proficient and has a real understanding of Baroque violin practice. However, I found her tone on this recording to be rather shrill and her interpretations sometime lacked vitality. David Pollack does very well with the solo harpsichord works, although his accompaniment to Ms. Brooks in the sonatas et al is somewhat tentative. The sound in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels is very dry and this could not have helped the strings in the case of Ms. Brooks and Mr. Pollack’s instruments. This rewarding disc will appeal strongly to wishing to expand their Baroque or English music horizons.
 
William Kreindler 

see also review by Johan van Veen

Complete track-listing
(All are first recordings except those marked *)
1 Toccata 0:56
in A minor • in a-Moll • en la mineur
for harpsichord
Published in The 2d Book of the Lady’s Entertainment (1708)
2 Chaconne 3:48
in A minor • in a-Moll • en la mineur
Arrangement for violin (or recorder) and continuo of a piece
from The Unhappy Penitent (1701)
Published in The Second Part of the Division Violin (1705)
Solo 7:09
in D major • in D-Dur • en ré majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas, three for two Flutes and a Bass, and three Solos for a Flute and a Bass (c. 1710)
3 Adagio 1:47
4 Largo 1:52
5 Allegro 1:07
6 Adagio 1:22
7 Giga 1:00
Solo 6:14
in B minor • in h-Moll • en si mineur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas, three for two Flutes and a Bass, and three Solos for a Flute and a Bass (c. 1710)
8 Vivace 1:52
9 Largo 1:28
10 Allegro 1:04
11 Adagio 1:08
12 Allegro 0:41
Solo 4:24
in A major • in A-Dur • en la majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas, three for two Flutes and a Bass, and three Solos for a Flute and a Bass (c. 1710)
13 Vivace - 1:44
14 Largo 0:44
15 Adagio 1:06
16 Allegro 0:51
Suite 7:19
in D minor / major • in d-Moll / D-Dur • en ré mineur / majeur
from A Collection of Lessons and Aires for the Harpsicord or Spinett (1702)
17 Allemand 2:11
18 Gavott 0:52
19 Hornpipe 1:02
20 March 1:01
21 Aire 1:30
22 Minuett 0:41
Sonata 6:10
in A major • in A-Dur • en la majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
23 [Largo] - 0:58
24 Allegro 1:21
25 Adagio - 1:27
26 [Allegro] 0:39
27 Largo 1:42
Sonata 6:25
in B minor • in h-Moll • en si mineur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
28 [Adagio] 2:11
29 Vivace 1:07
30 Largo 2:19
31 Allegro 0:45
Sonata 6:40
in D major • in D-Dur • en ré majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
32 [Adagio] 1:48
33 Largo 1:20
34 Allegro 1:08
35 Grave 1:28
36 [Allegro] 0:55
37 Rondeau 1:09
in B flat major • in B-Dur • en si bémol majeur
Probably an arrangement, for harpsichord, of a piece for four-part strings, copied in two early-eighteenth-century manuscripts
38 Lovely charmer 2:47
Arrangement for harpsichord of a song from The Island Princess (1699), copied in an Oxford manuscript
39 What ungrateful devil moves you 1:50
Arrangement for harpsichord of a song from Love’s Last Shift (1696),
copied in an Oxford manuscript
40 Alass when charming Sylvia’s gon 1:05
Arrangement for harpsichord of a free-standing song (not dated),
copied in an Oxford manuscript
Sonata 5:15*
in D major • in D-Dur • en ré majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
41 Poco largo 1:38
42 Vivace 1:05
43 Grave 1:38
44 Allegro 0:54
Sonata 4:57*
in A major • in A-Dur • en la majeur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
45 Adagio 1:50
46 Allegro - 0:35
47 Largo 0:49
48 Grave - 1:00
49 Allegro 0:40
Sonata 8:22*
in F minor • in f-Moll • en fa mineur
for violin (or recorder) and continuo
Published in Six Sonatas or Solos, three for a Violin and three for the Flute (1698)
50 Adagio 2:52
51 Allegro 1:05
52 Adagio 3:08
53 Allegro 1:15 

 


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