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Home Classical Linley Thomas Linley - A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare (2005)

Linley - A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare (2005)

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Linley - A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare (2005)

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1 	Overture 	6:38
2 	Minuetto 	2:18
3 	No. 1 Chorus: "O Guardian Of That Sacred Land" 	4:44
4 	No. 2 Recitative: "'Tis Thine Alone?" 	1:07
5 	No. 3 Air: "Come Then, O Fancy" 	2:42
6 	No. 4 Recitative: "At Shakespeare's Happy Birth" 	1:30
7 	No. 5 Air: "And Now Is Come" 	2:08
8 	No. 6 Chorus: "Be Shakespeare Born" 	2:22
9 	No. 7 Recitative: "So Spake The God" 	0:29
10 	No. 8 Air: "There In Old Arden's Inmost Shade" 	3:39
11 	No. 9 Recitative: "And As Before His Purged Eyes" 	0:26
12 	No. 10 Air: "Thy Hand His Youthful Footsteps Led" 	4:12
13 	No. 11 Air: "Some Drive The Clam'rous Owl Away" 	1:59
14 	No. 12 Solo & Chorus: "Some Drive The Clam'rous Owl Away" 	2:55
15 	No. 13 Recitative: "But Oh! What Sudden Gloom" 	2:09
16 	No. 14 Quartet: "By The Pale Light" 	1:11
17 	No. 15 Recitative: "See Through The Glimmering Darkness" 	0:26
18 	No. 16 Chorus: "What Howling Whirlwinds" 	1:33
19 	No. 17 Recitative: "For Whom, At Yonder Livid Flame" 	1:27
20 	No. 18 Air: "Whither Ye Beldames" 	4:34
21 	No. 19 Quartet & Chorus: "The Tempests Cease" 	4:05
22 	No. 20 Recitative: "No More The Elves" 	0:45
23 	No. 21 Air: "Ariel, Who Sees Thee Now" 	4:17
24 	No. 22 Recitative: "No More Shalt Thou" 	0:26
25 	No. 23 Duet: "For Who Can Wield" 	5:14
26 	No. 24 Chorus: "Yet, Fancy, Once Again" 	3:23

Julia Gooding and Lorna Anderson (sopranos);
Richard Wistreich (bass);
The Parley of Instruments Baroque Orchestra and Choir
Paul Nicholson (conductor)

 

It is easy to be condescending about a disc like this: minor music of the age of Haydn and Mozart, decidedly conservative and (let us admit) provincial in idiom; and, of course, it hardly begins to rise to the scale of its subject—how indeed could it? And yet there are few discs I expect to enjoy half as much in this year's listening. There are a number of qualities to the invention and the spirit that comes so surely through it—its freshness, its confidence, its specifically English vein of melody, its equally English scaling down of the grandeur of Handelian counterpoint to the world of later Georgian sensibility—that I find very appealing. What is more, the younger Linley, who met and played with the young Mozart, exactly the same age, in Florence in 1770, was technically a very accomplished composer. This is wholly professional music, written with skill and refinement. The work divides into two parts. Composed in 1776, its full title is ''A Lyric Ode on the Fairies, Aerial Beings and Witches of Shakespeare''; musically, it does a bit better on the fairies and the aerial beings than it does on the witches, to my mind, for the sinister touches, minor keys, unisons and chromaticisms capture a 'gothick' world rather than anything as truly dark as Shakespeare's witches. Richard Wistreich perhaps also sounds a shade too nice, too gentlemanly for it. Once past the delightful, Boyce-like overture (what on earth makes Holman, in his admirable notes, talk of the French baroque here? it's nothing like it), there is a succession of fine pieces: the vivacious first air, ''Come then, O Fancy'', with its gentle glances into the minor mode; then the lovely air and chorus ''And now is come the fated hour'', with its very English note of pathos; and then the pair of airs, the rapt ''There in old Arden's inmost shade'' and the spirited and delicate ''Thy hand his youthful footsteps led''. And after one more air a Handelian chorus rounds off the act. Most of these airs are sung by Julia Gooding, whose bell-like voice and natural style, with a delightful ability to 'float' a phrase, are exactly what the music calls for; there is very cap-able singing too from the firmer-toned Lorna Anderson—and the two join at the end, after a charming oboe obbligato air for Julia Gooding, in a beguiling duet. Paul Nicholson directs with a sure sense of style and there is good, spirited playing from The Parley. Very enjoyable, unpretentious music: a disc well worth trying.' ---Stanley Sadie, gramophone.co.uk

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