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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD332
Recording details: June 2008
St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 8 minutes 35 seconds

'Although not among Purcell's most familiar works, there have been some fine recordings of these sonatas by London Baroque and the Purcell Quartet. Retrospect's performances comfortably rank alongside such stylish company. Matthew Truscott and Sophie Gent take turns as first violinist in five of the sonatas each, and the quality of conversational playing between them is deeply eloquent. Halls and Jonathan Manson contribute polished and heartfelt continuo-playing. Slow music such as the central Grave movement in Sonata X is ideally melancholic, and there is ripe emotional tension in the ascending chromaticism of the short Adagio that concludes Sonata V. The quicker music is played with impeccable technique and taste (such as the playful yet unforced Canzona Allegro in Sonata IX). Moreover, Linn producer Philip Hobbs has captured all of these musical virtues in a beautiful audiophile recording. It seems as if record labels are taking less interest in Purcell than in this year's other big anniversary composers, but this goes some way towards making up for it' (Gramophone)

'Like the companion Sonatas for Three Parts, Purcell nails his four-part colours to an ‘imitation of the most fam'd Italian masters'—'music's best master' he insisted while admitting that a little ‘French air was good for gayety and fashion'. For all the advertising claims though, the music grafts continental inclinations onto the sturdy rootstock of the English Fantazia to produce music rich in contrapuntal argument, ear-catching harmonies, melodic felicities and suave fluidity. Retrospect captures it all with an inexhaustible spirit of delight in the Purcellian moment—from the harmonic adventures which bring Sonata No 5 to a psychedelic close, to the vibrant thrusting joie de vivre of the ‘Golden Sonata'. Violinists Sophie Gent and Matthew Truscott take it in turns to occupy the lead violin chair; a potent demonstration of the generous reciprocity which informs the playing throughout. Considered yet never corseted, Retrospect's Purcell makes a release of the three-part sonatas a mouthwatering matter of urgency' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Retrospect is a newly formed period-instrument ensemble comprising former members of the King's Consort under their erstwhile acting director, Matthew Halls. With Sophie Gent and Matthew Truscott (alternating as first violin in five sonatas each) and the bass violist Jonathan Manson, Halls shows his prowess, on both harpsichord and organ, as a chamber musician. Most of Purcell's 10 Sonatas are latish works, posthumously published by his widow in 1697, but some may even predate a collection he released in 1683. Whatever their date, they are magnificent works, offering a fusion of Italian sonata, French suite and English viol consort music styles. Only No 1 in B minor emulates the slow-fast-slow-fast-slow movement structure of the typical Italian sonata da chiesa, while No 6 is an extended Adagio in G minor. Only the 'Golden Sonata', No 9 in F major, is widely known, but the entire set counts as one of the pinnacles of baroque chamber music—adagios and largos are tinged with a uniquely Purcellian melancholy, while the many vivace numbers show the composer revelling in the spirit of baroque dance. The playing is immaculate—expressive and alert to all the nuance and variety of this superb music. An absolute winner for the Purcell year' (The Sunday Times)

'The performers here—Sophie Gent and Matthew Truscott (violin), Jonathan Manson (bass viol), Matthew Halls (harpsichord & organ)—are first-rate, expertly articulating both the ebullient counterpoint and weightier slow-movement harmonies with scintillating clarity and stylish regard for sometimes abrupt shifts of mood and color from movement to movement—the transitions through the five short movements of the F major Sonata IX are a good example. Needless to say, the sound, recorded in a Berkshire, UK church, is absolutely spot-on. Outstanding!' (ClassicsToday.com)

'Das Retrospect Trio liefert eine historisch informierte, sehr durchdachte Wiedergabe. Die Generalbassgruppe stützt das Klangbild jederzeit, tritt aber niemals in den Vordergrund; wenn die Basslinie am thematischen Geschehen teilhat, zeichnet sie sich durch große Beweglichkeit aus. Die beiden Geigenstimmen verschmelzen nahezu ideal—kadenzierende Synkopenvorhalte gewinnen durch die stilsichere Abphrasierung zur Konsonanz ein melancholisches Pathos, das sich besonders charakteristisch in der dritten Sonate in a-Moll zeigt … eine wertvolle, in vieler Hinsicht überzeugende Einspielung' (Klassik.com, Germany) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

Sonata No 5 in G minor, Z806
composer

[untitled]  [1'45]
Canzona  [1'05]
Largo  [2'43]
Adagio  [0'44]
Presto  [0'16]
Allegro  [1'29]
Adagio  [0'33]

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