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Hyperion Records

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Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his sisters (The Music Party, 1733) by Philip Mercier (?1689/91-1760)
National Portrait Gallery, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67894
Recording details: December 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: October 2011
Total duration: 10 minutes 17 seconds

'The musicianship is exquisite. Cohen's cello playing is softly lyrical … and Davies's coloratura shines … his embellishments are gorgeous' (Gramophone)

'This premiere recording gloriously recreates Porpora's own aural and dramatic contexts. Making his solo debut on the Hyperion label, countertenor Iestyn Davies hovers delicately between passion and languour, enactment and commentary … technically immaculate and thoroughly researched, the production value of this disc meets Hyperion's usual high standards. At last we can hear why period cognoscenti sometimes preferred Porpora to Handel' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Iestyn Davies, today's most exciting British countertenor, sings six of [the cantatas] here with an awesome technique and flawless tone, accompanied by the lithe and graceful chamber ensemble Arcangelo, with the princely Jonathan Cohen directing from the cello. Recommended' (The Observer)

'These six Italian cantatas by the baroque composer Nicola Porpora, all to texts by Metastasio, are perfectly tailored to the mellifluous, beautifully articulated, expressive countertenor voice of Iestyn Davies, accompanied by apt colouring from the instrumental ensemble Arcangelo' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Porpora has been compared unfavourably with his contemporary Handel, but his music was much admired during his lifetime, and as Davies's beautifully shaped and coloured singing shows, it has a great deal of elegance and charm … the performances certainly give it the best possible chance; the players of Arcangelo are alive to every nuance of the recitatives and in the arias take the instrumental obbligatos (whether for violin, recorder or bassoon) with great relish' (The Guardian)

'In selecting Iestyn Davies to perform [the cantatas] Hyperion has made a very wise choice indeed … he is very much the headline act and is never anything other than deeply impressive … I look forward to hearing these superb musicians on disc again in the not-too-distant future' (International Record Review)

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