The Best of Daniel Taylor
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantata BWV200 'Bekennen will ich seinen Namen' [3:46]
Cantata BWV161 'Komm, du süsse Todesstunde' [19:21]
John BENNETT (1575-1614):
The dark is my delight [3:29]
Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707):
Klaglied 'Muß der Tod denn auch entbinden', BuxWV 76/2 [6:58]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Shall I strive with words to move? [3:12]
Come again, sweet love doth now invite [4:25]
Lady Hunsdon's Puffe [1:08]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759):
Theodora: Overture - Trio [2:21]
Messiah: But who may abide [4:37]
Solomon: Bless’d be the Lord…What though I trace [6:26]
Georg Melchior HOFFMANN (1685-1715)
Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde cantate BWV 53 [6:10]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Strike the Viol (from Come Ye Sons of Art, Z323) [2:24]
Daniel Taylor (counter-tenor)
Theater of Early Music (Hoffmann, Purcell, Bach, Buxtehude); Suzie LeBlanc, Jan Kobow and Stephen Varcoe (Bach; Komm, du süsse): Les Voix Humaines (Bennett): Stephen Stubbs (lute) (Dowland Shall I strive, Lady Hunsdon’s Puffe), Ensemble Arion/Monica Huggett (Handel)
rec. no dates or locations specified
ATMA ACD2 3001 [64:38]
This compilation bears the date 2007, so I’m not sure whether it’s been given a renewed push now by Atma or whether, like a message in a bottle, it’s finally found its way to the reviewing shore. Either way, it only takes us to part-way through counter-tenor Daniel Taylor’s career, and the last six or seven years must inevitably be a void, at least here. That’s necessarily going to limit interest, as it truncates his discography. This is, I must add in Atma’s defence, largely because Taylor has since begun to record for other labels.
The brief notes announce his many appearances as well as future engagements for the 2007-08 season. They give us next to nothing about him, though. They do reprint the booklet covers of the various CDs from which this disc extracts worthy items. The full catalogue numbers are given, should you wish to pursue the matter and buy the albums concerned.
Taylor stands at a real remove from the sopranist virtuosi like Max Emanuel Cencic, and even David Daniels. He sits rather more in the Scholl School. One can hear the purity and focus of the voice in Hoffmann’s Schlage doch, which was good enough to have been attributed for many years to Bach. His Purcell Strike the viol is stylish and it’s useful to hear him essaying Bach’s less well-known Bekennen will ich seinen Namen. The Buxtehude allows him to unfold a degree of expressive melancholy, and his vocal subtlety can be savoured in the many changes of colour that never break the line or draw undue attention to themselves. There’s a hint of Alfred Deller in the white bleaching of his tone at certain moments in John Bennett’s The dark is my delight.
Sometimes things are more equivocal. He uses his chest voice in But who may abide from Messiah though it does sound a touch out of place and he lacks true heft. Ornamentation is discreet. The metre is varied in Dowland’s Come Again, where verses get progressively slower to maintain interest - though it’s not a solution I’d have adopted, in all honesty. Much the largest piece is the last, Bach’s cantata Komm, du süsse Todesstunde in which he sings in two of the six tracks. The Theater of Early Music is once again strongly involved. To add variety, there are also some instrumental tracks - Dowland on the lute played by the able Stephen Stubbs, for instance.
If you’d like to trace Taylor’s early career on disc this is a useful, though by no means definitive way to do it.
Jonathan Woolf

If you’d like to trace Taylor’s early career on disc this is a useful, though by no means definitive way to do it.

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