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Christina Pluhar|Music for a While - Improvisations on Purcell

Music for a While - Improvisations on Purcell

Christina Pluhar

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This is an entirely novel treatment of Henry Purcell's music that may appeal greatly to experimentally minded listeners, but those mulling the purchase should be perfectly clear about what they're getting into. "Improvisations on Henry Purcell" is not quite the right subtitle. There are elements of improvisation, it's true, but really these are arrangements of famous Purcell songs and arias, most of them by L'Arpeggiata leader Christina Pluhar. A few of the pieces are performed straight, but most of them are very far from the conventional Purcell sound world, drawing on such diverse genres as rock (the opening 'Twas within a furlong and Strike the viol, both complete with electric guitar), world music, other Baroque styles, various styles of jazz, and even lounge music, applied to the sublime When I am laid in earth, from Dido and Aeneas. Plainly there is a subset of listeners who will be absolutely driven crazy by this release, but just as plainly it gets major points for utter originality. Its strength lies in the fact that it is not simply a jazz or rock version of Purcell but a wholesale rethinking of an antique repertoire for a stylistically diverse modern musical world. Pluhar commands the services of an all-star trio of countertenors including Dominique Visse, Philippe Jaroussky, and Vincenzo Capezzuto, along with soprano Raquel Andueza; the singers generally sound like they're having a great deal of fun, and listeners should check the album out just to hear some hitherto unknown possibilities of the countertenor voice (try Visse's turn in Man is for the woman made). Despite all the craziness, Purcell's tunes are left generally intact, and this is another of the album's strengths. Things go seriously astray only with the bonus track, an inexplicable version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by Capezzuto, but those hooked on the album's ideas by then will be inclined to accept it as the kind of excess that comes with original projects. The future of early music? Probably not, but who knows?

© TiVo

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Music for a While - Improvisations on Purcell

Christina Pluhar

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1
The Mock Marriage, Z. 605: No. 2, Twas Within a Furlong (Arr. Pluhar)
00:02:54

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Thomas Scott, Poet - Vincenzo Capezzuto, FeaturedArtist, Alto Vocals

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

2
Oedipus, Z. 583: No. 2, Song. "Music for a While" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:05:54

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - John Dryden, Poet - Nathaniel Lee, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

3
Come Ye Sons of Art, Z. 323 "Ode for Queen Mary's Birthday": No. 5, Ritornello. "Strike the Viol" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:03:57

Nahum Tate, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

4
An Evening Hymn, Z. 193 (Arr. Pluhar)
00:06:06

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Bishop William Fuller, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

5
Hail! Bright Cecilia, Z. 328 "Ode to St Cecilia": Duet. "In Vain the Am'rous Flute"
00:04:33

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Vincenzo Capezzuto, FeaturedArtist, Alto Vocals - Nicholas Brady, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

6
Who Can From Joy Refrain, Z. 342: Song. "A Prince of Glorious Race Descended" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:04:40

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Nathum Tate, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

7
O Solitude, My Sweetest Choice, Z. 406
00:05:23

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Kathryn Philips, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

8
Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626, Act III: Song. "When I Am Laid in Earth" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:05:03

Nahum Tate, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

9
Hail! Bright Cecilia, Z. 328 "Ode to St Cecilia": Aria. "Wondrous Machine" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:03:41

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Vincenzo Capezzuto, FeaturedArtist, Alto Vocals - Nicholas Brady, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

10
Welcome to All the Pleasures, Z. 339: III. "Here the Deities Approve" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:04:47

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Christopher Fishburn, Lyricist

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

11
Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626, Act I: Song. "Ah Belinda, I Am Press'd with Torment" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:04:10

Nahum Tate, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

12
Timon of Athens, Z. 632: "Hark! How the Songsters of the Grove" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:02:48

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Thomas Shadwell, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

13
The Fairy Queen, Z. 629, Act II. Song. "One Charming Night" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:04:40

Anonymous, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Vincenzo Capezzuto, FeaturedArtist, Alto Vocals

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

14
The Mock Marriage, Z. 605: No. 3, Man Is for the Woman Made (Arr. Pluhar)
00:01:17

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Dominique Visse, Counter-Tenor Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Peter Anthony Motteux, Poet

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

15
The Fairy Queen, Z. 629, Act V: The Plaint. "O Let Me Ever, Ever Weep" (Arr. Pluhar)
00:07:18

Anonymous, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Raquel Andueza, Soprano Vocals, FeaturedArtist

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

16
Timon of Athens, Z. 632: Curtain Tune on a Ground (Arr. Pluhar)
00:02:56

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, FeaturedArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

17
Hallelujah
00:06:04

Leonard Cohen, Composer, Poet - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Orchestra, FeaturedArtist - Vincenzo Capezzuto, FeaturedArtist, Alto Vocals

© 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. ℗ 2014 Christina Pluhar, under exclusive licence to Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd.

Album review

This is an entirely novel treatment of Henry Purcell's music that may appeal greatly to experimentally minded listeners, but those mulling the purchase should be perfectly clear about what they're getting into. "Improvisations on Henry Purcell" is not quite the right subtitle. There are elements of improvisation, it's true, but really these are arrangements of famous Purcell songs and arias, most of them by L'Arpeggiata leader Christina Pluhar. A few of the pieces are performed straight, but most of them are very far from the conventional Purcell sound world, drawing on such diverse genres as rock (the opening 'Twas within a furlong and Strike the viol, both complete with electric guitar), world music, other Baroque styles, various styles of jazz, and even lounge music, applied to the sublime When I am laid in earth, from Dido and Aeneas. Plainly there is a subset of listeners who will be absolutely driven crazy by this release, but just as plainly it gets major points for utter originality. Its strength lies in the fact that it is not simply a jazz or rock version of Purcell but a wholesale rethinking of an antique repertoire for a stylistically diverse modern musical world. Pluhar commands the services of an all-star trio of countertenors including Dominique Visse, Philippe Jaroussky, and Vincenzo Capezzuto, along with soprano Raquel Andueza; the singers generally sound like they're having a great deal of fun, and listeners should check the album out just to hear some hitherto unknown possibilities of the countertenor voice (try Visse's turn in Man is for the woman made). Despite all the craziness, Purcell's tunes are left generally intact, and this is another of the album's strengths. Things go seriously astray only with the bonus track, an inexplicable version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by Capezzuto, but those hooked on the album's ideas by then will be inclined to accept it as the kind of excess that comes with original projects. The future of early music? Probably not, but who knows?

© TiVo

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