La Sfera Armoniosa, founded in 1992, is a Dutch Baroque ensemble and orchestra specialized in the performance of music from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Artistic director and conductor is Mike Fentross. Mike Fentross: I was really moved when I heard my orchestra play the opening bars of the Purcell. I heard a sound that was quite different to what I knew from other present-day baroque orchestras. Was this sound closer to that of Purcell’s own orchestra, a sound that he may have had in mind when composing this wondrous music? In the very first chat I had about this project with Lidewij van der Voort, our new concertmaster, we talked about the modern adaptations that are often (and understandably) applied to baroque instruments nowadays, and about the possibility of going back to authentic strings (completely bare gut) and a 17th century bow hold (the French grip) for this Purcell project. As it happens, I’d had a similar conversation not long before that with Lidewei de Sterck, our principal oboist, about authentic reeds (scraped from the inside) and with Graham Nicholson, about 17th century trumpets (natural trumpets with no finger holes). These aspects, seemingly just details, have a major impact not just on the sound but also the way of playing and therefore on the way we interpret the music. We all felt the need to record this CD with these ‘experimental’ instruments. An orchestral sound with so much transparency and colour, a way of playing with such narrative power! I’m full of admiration for the musicians who played so beautifully and who were prepared to take up the challenge of moving away from a well-trodden path.
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:18:44
|Original Recording Format
|Recording Type & Bit Rate
|June 1, 2018
This album contains instrumental and vocal extracts from four of Purcell’s operas: The Prophetess, King Arthur, The Indian Queen, and The Fairy Queen. And such wonderful music it is! Fentross and company have gone to great lengths to create performances that are as authentic and reflective of what may actually have been heard in Purcell’s time as they possibly could do…
The orchestra plays with power but, importantly, with so much transparency and color given the attention to these authentic instruments. When fanfares of drum and trumpet are played, I am completely transported. The immediacy with which the sound of these instruments is captured makes for a dramatic listening experience. Simply stunning dynamics, detail and timbre…
“The fact that this is a concert recording contributes to the vital character of the performance. Not the technical – but often clinical – perfection leads the dance, but the emotions that the composer wanted to evoke with sounds. Purcell seems to have been brought back to life by La Sfera Armoniosa .”
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