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Track(s) taken from CDH55249

Ah, how pleasant 'tis to love, Z353

The Banquet of Musick, 1688
author of text

Elizabeth Kenny (lute)
Recording details: April 1999
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: January 2000
Total duration: 0 minutes 53 seconds

Cover artwork: Home Once More (detail) by William Jabez Muckley (1837-1905)
Sotheby’s Picture Library

Other recordings available for download

Barbara Bonney (soprano), The King's Consort


'Can be recommended without reservation … the wonderful 'By beauteous softness’, from Queen Mary’s Birthday Ode of 1689, given this performance, I could quite easily listen to for ever … there’s a remarkable technical ease and innate literary intelligence about Blaze’s singing which together with the astounding beauty of his voice makes this one of the most outstanding recitals of its kind on disc … wonderfully performed … among the new generation of countertenors, Robin Blaze is the genuine article. Blaze [has] poised intensity, unswerving intelligence and sensitivity to the sheer, melting beauty of his instrument' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Robin Blaze has the versatility and range of nuances needed to encompass such an eclectic repertoire and the precision of focus in his limpid countertenor makes even a trifle like The delights of the bottle an invigorating experience … an enterprising recital disc' (International Record Review)

'I so admire Robin Blaze. He possesses an entirely natural sounding instrument, a polished technique, a subtle refined musicianship. Here, with his delicately soft timbres, he draws us into the world of each piece … the most delightful and intoxicating experience … I was entranced' (Gramophone Early Music)

'Rising young countertenor in a programme he was born to sing … a lute song 'natural'' (Classic CD)
Ah, how pleasant ’tis to love is a simple, strophic song which was published in the second book of The Banquet of Musick (1688). The lyrics are almost a precis of John Dryden’s ‘Ah, how sweet it is to love’ from his play Tyrannic Love (1670), itself set to music by Purcell for a 1695 revival of the play. Robert Spencer has pointed out melodic similarities with ‘Fear no danger to ensue’ from Dido and Aeneas which may (or, if we accept theories recently presented, may not) date from the same year. The message of the song is straightforward: it is wonderful to be in love. Some people enjoy good living, or build up great fortunes, but the lover needs only his loved one to supply every pleasure.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Other albums featuring this work

Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1
CDA66710Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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