Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Purcell - Complete Chamber Music - Musica Amphion/Belder

Rating: 5/5

Excellent Purcell

This is an excellent seven-CD set. With substantial box-sets like this which are very reasonably priced, there is always a slight worry in my mind that the performances will be a bit substandard. That was a misplaced worry with this set. Pieter-Jan Belder has recorded a very good complete set of Scarlatti's Sonatas for Brilliant Classics and he and Musica Amphion here do Purcell proud, too.

The music itself is delightful. You get the Sonatas Of Three- and Four-Parts, the Fantazias and In Nomines, three discs of harpsichord music and one of miscellaneous chamber music. All of it displays Purcell's melodic gift and inventive harmony and there's nothing in any of the seven discs that smacks of filler; it's a treasure trove of great music which will give you pleasure for many years.

The performances, too, are very good. I have the excellent London Baroque discs of the Sonatas, and I think these stand up very well beside them. Belder's harpsichord playing is very fine on the solo works. The Fantazias and In Nomines are also very well played by the ensemble. They play on violins, violas and violas da gamba rather than viols, and I miss the wonderful sound on Fretwork's superb disc of these pieces, but the playing is excellent and, on these instruments, I have no complaint about the performance whatever.

In short, it's a gem of a set and truly excellent value. I recommend it very highly.

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