Purcell: Ayres & Songs From Orpheus Britannicus &
North, Nigel; Moroney, Davitt; Cunningham, Sarah; Feldman, Jill
It is an important moment in the life of a singer when she is able to confront the standard repertory. After years spent studying theatre and music in Shakespeare's England under the guidance of musicologist Philip Brett, Jill Feldman recorded two programmes of Henry Purcell's music in 1992, which is reissued here. Many of the ‘Ayres and Songs’ from Orpheus Britannicus are connected to the English theatrical tradition. In the earliest piece on this album, ‘From Silent Shades’, and the latest, ‘From Rosy Bow'rs’, we hear one theatrical tradition – placing the voice of truth in the mouth of a madman. In the same way, we hear the wisdom of Touchstone in As You Like It, of Feste in Twelfth Night, and of King Lear's Fool. This programme, superbly accompanied by lutenist Nigel North, searches for that wisdom throughout. In the Harmonia Sacra recording, Purcell’s sacred hymns are interspersed with his complete organ works played by Davitt Moroney, with whom Jill Feldman had collaborated ever since their meeting in 1975 as part of Philip Brett’s ensemble at Berkeley in California. The organ is an exquisite instrument built by Purcell’s contemporary, Thomas Dallam (1677), which resides in the small village of Guimiliau in Brittany.