Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
The Fairy Queen & The Prophetess

Réédition / Reissued
Alia Vox AVSA9866

Édition remasterisée

Remastered edition

Super Audio CD




Artistes / Performers
Le Concert des Nations
Direction: Jordi Savall

Lieu d'enregistrement / Recording site:
Collégiale romane du Chateau de Cardona, Catalogne (Catalunya)
Date d'enregistrement:septembre 1996 
Recording date: September 1996

Durée totale / Total time: 62'53"

Édition originale/Original recording
Astrée - 8583
Réédition / Re-issued Naïve - 9934



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"Le Savallisme rayonnant de la gravure -raffinement sonore et expressivité fluide et mordante- met en lumière le génie de l'Orphée Britannique. Le compositeur baroque ne pouvait espérer meilleure illustration de son génie"

Camille de Joyeuse (ClasiqueNews.com).

"Another glorious production by Savall - beautiful sound and fluid expressiveness - highlighting the genius of the British Orpheus. The Baroque composer couldn't be better served by this CD"

Camille de Joyeuse (ClasiqueNews.com).

Évaluations recensées / Reviews located

08/1997 + 01/2010
See below

# 440 (09-1997)
Voir ci-dessous

 # 20 (03/2000)
Voir ci-dessous

Vol. 21: 3 (01/02-98)
Vol. 33: 3 (01/02-10)

See below

# 2 - (Hiver/Winter 1998)
Voir ci-dessous

Full text / texte intégral
Review by: Victor Carr

Reviewer: Nicholas Anderson

Reviewer: John Sunier

Par: Camille de Joyeuse

Par: Frédéric Gabriel

Henry Purcell
The Fairy Queen

Henry Purcell
The Fairy Queen

Extrait du livret / From the liner notes

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

The Fairy Queen and the Prophetess

Les Anglais vinrent tardivement à l’Opéra. À la suite de la restauration de la monarchie en 1660, on aurait pu s’attendre à un engouement général pour ce genre nouveau. Car l’étranger revenait à la mode ; le roi Charles II lui-même donna la réplique aux Vingt-Quatre Violons du Roi de Louis XIV en créant sa propre formation, tandis qu’en France, l’opéra italien prit un nouvel essor dans sa terre adoptive. Mais en Angleterre, les premières tentatives de transplantation de l’opéra, en italien ou en anglais, échouèrent sans qu’i1 y ait pour cela de raisons évidentes. En revanche, la pratique locale d’insérer des intermèdes musicaux dans des pièces de théâtre ou dans des masques, s’imposait plus fortement. Ces pièces pouvaient servir soit d’introduction (Ouvertures), soit de commentaire (airs, chœurs et autres pièces vocales), ou encore d’accompagnement aux chorégraphies ; mais le plus souvent, leur rapport avec l’action scénique était minime. A mi-chemin entre cette sorte d’intermède et l’opéra proprement dit, il y avait le « semi-opéra », type indigène né plus vraisemblablement d’une forte méfiance envers l‘opéra que de considérations financières : la dépense relative d’une représentation scénique de The Fairy Queen étant sans doute comparable à celle d’un opéra continental.

Poursuivez votre lecture - texte intégral
AVSA 9866 :  Cliquez ici   + Description

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

The Fairy Queen and the Prophetess

The English were latecomers to the opera. Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, one might have expected the theatrical establishment to embrace the new genre enthusiastically: after all, things foreign were once again in fashion. Charles II himself established a troupe of string players in frank imitation of Louis XIV’s Vingt-Quatre Violons du Roi, while in France itself, Italian opera, having been successfully transplanted, soon thrived in its new soil. But for some reason, the first attempts at popularizing opera in England (whether in Italian or in the vernacular) were failures. Instead, the practice of introducing incidental music within plays and masques assumed increasing importance. Such music could either set the action (in the manner of an Overture), comment upon it (in the case of vocal numbers), or else accompany danced items; but in any case its relationship to the plot was often peripheral. Midway between this simpler kind of incidental music and the full-blown opera stands the semi-opera, an indigenous genre borne largely out of fashionable aversion to opera itself: after all, the expense of a fully-staged production of The Fairy Queen would have been at least comparable to operatic extravaganzas on the continent.


Read on - Full text

AVSA 9866: Click here - + Description







- Texte intégral anglais
- Full text


Reviewer: Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

"The seven short movements from Dioclesian are nobly conceived, the "Dance of the Furies" typical of Savall's long-breathed lines and dark, bass-heavy string palette. Whether such a purposeful and imposing dramatic profile distorts the sweet airiness of Purcell's vernacular is more a matter of taste than anything. Savall is never less than colourful and there is much to be said for his admirable musical instinct, which brings moments of glorious shapeliness and elasticity in the substantial Fairy Queen suite."
The playing from Le Concert des Nations is affectionate, though pretty rough-hewn in places."

Read on






Reviewer: David Vickers

"The disc has aged well, notwithstanding such occasional eccentricities. During the Dioclesian suite, Le Concert des Nations plays the Dance of the Furies with plenty of muscular verve (JFA called it "dark" and "bass-heavy", and this assessment remains spot on 13 years later), and the trumpet tunes are direct yet charismatic. Music from each of "The Fairy Queen"s five acts is judiciously organised into suites, and the instrumental playing aptly conveys soft sensuousness (eg the Rondeau from Act 1), lyrical expressiveness (the ritornello of "If Love's a Sweet Passion" from Act 3, beguilingly played by concertmaster Manfredo Kraemer), scampering playfulness (the Prelude in Act 5) and bold splendour (the Act 4 Symphony). Those who missed this disc first time around might find great pleasure in Savall's imaginative shaping of Purcell's musical moods."

Diapason- 440
(Sept. 1997)



4 Diapasons



Analyste: Ivan A. Alexandre
Résumé ou abrégé: 

"... De la longue ouverture au  Bird's Prelude, de la Danses des fées  à la Symphonie des cygnes, un monde fantastique et nocturne s'anime en vingt-six numéros... Nocturne est d'ailleurs la lueur où Jordi Savall plonge cette mosaïque. Rêveuse fées de l'acte III, qu'on imagine  dépêchées par Marin Marais; mélancolique Bird's Prelude visité par Couperin - contrebasse, flûtes traversières et notes inégales tournent le disque entier vers la France de 1710... Un seul danger guette l'auditeur; non le décousu, au contraire: l'homogène. Les Hommes verts (acte III), sauvages enshakespearés (sic), ont la mine bien sociable, tandis qu'on a gommé tout dehors rustique aux Faneurs qui les suivent. Même retenue dans les pages éclatantes de l'Acte IV,.... Le phrasé des cordes, la chaleur des bois, le luxe des voix intermédiaires, rien ne nous manque. Non plus que dans les six fragments de Dioclesian, premier dramatick opera de Purcell avant  King Arthur et  The Fairy Queen, et dont Savall fait pertinemment son prologue"...

Classica- # 20


Note : 5



Analyste: Stéphan Perreau

"Justement, de cette musique vocale de Purcell, Savall nous donnait pour sa dernière collaboration avec Astrée deux suites de danses raffinées. Concurrent direct de Roy Goodman, il en tire ici le meilleur parti.'

 # 2
(Hiver/Winter 1998)




Goldberg a cessé de publier avec le # 54
Goldberg is no longer available.
# 54 was the last issue.

Reviewer: Brian Robins

"Were I writing this review solely for domestic readership, my inclination would be to dismiss these performances out of hand, for by English standards this is not idiomatic Purcell." 
"I don't think this can be accounted as one of Savall's more successful disc. His Purcell is soft-grained, with tempos that are often slower than normal ant the line is almost invariably emphasized at the expense of rythm. Time and again, one is aware of how French the musics sounds, the composer's natural open English breeziness sanitised into the artificial world of fêtes galantes."

The present disc is only recommended to those who prefer the notion of Monsieur Purcell to Mr Purcell".

Vol. 21: 3 (01/02-98)


Reviewer:  Michael Ullman
Abridged version :

"What  Jordi Savall has done here, a cynic might say, is find a way of playing music from Purcell's famed semi-operas without having to deal with those pesky singers...  "... I find Jordi Savall's recording of the orchestral music from those works absolutely delightful, stylish, energetic, and tasteful. It is also exquisitely recorded: listen to the little Symphony that opens the Fourth Act Suite, and you hear well-balanced strings and brass, drumbeats that are so clear they seem to have a beginning, middle, and end, and one hears these sounds in phrases that capture all of the buoyant charm of Pucell's music without inflating those sounds for audiophile effects. The recorded sound has depth as well as presence, a realistic sounstage and full bass".

"... the music The Prophetess is less well known than all but the more obscure numbers of The Fairy Queen. It includes a dignified "Symphony for the Trumpets and Violins" and some unexpected serene music introducing the "Dance of the Furies", who are agitated if not precisely scary -- their rough edges are suggested by jaggedly played ascending and descending phrases rendered by the violins. Even readers well versed in Purcell's masterpieces will want to hear this disc."

Vol. 33: 3 (01/02-10)


Reviewer:  Barry Brenesal

"Fans of Savall know that his conducting reflects similar values to his viola da gamba solos: a nuanced view of phrasing, exceptional attention to the beauty and clarity of textures, and a knowledge of appropriate embellishments."

I find Savall’s phrasing, along with a slightly lower pitch and predominance of darker string instruments, mines the natural melancholy of Purcell’s piece to greater advantage without danger of anachronism."

Savall and Le Concert des Nations remain in the top tier of performances for me. If you haven’t heard them before in this music, by all means give them a try."
La musique  /  The Music

The Prophetess (1690)

1. First Musick

2. Second Musick

3. Symphony for Trumpets & violins

4. Retornella
5. Dance of the Furies: Soft music  - Dance
6. The Chair Dance
7. Retornella

The Fairy Queen (1692)

The First Act Suite 22. Dance for the Fairies (22)
8. First music: Prelude (1) 23. Dance for the Green men (23)
9. First music: Hornpipe (2) 24. Dance for the Haymakers (27)
10. Second music: Air (3) 25. Third Act Tune: hornpipe (29)
11 Second music: Rondeau (4) The Fourth Act Suite
12. Overture (5) 26. Symphony: Prelude, Canzona, Largo, Allegro, Adagio, Allegro (30)
13. First Act Tune: Jig (8) 27. Entry of Phoebus (33)
The Second Act Suite 28. Fourth Act Tune: Air (40)
14. A Prelude (9) The Fifth Act Suite
15. A "Bird's Prelude" (10) 29. Prelude (41)
16. Echo (12) 30. Entry Dance (44)
17. A Fairies Dances (13) 31. Symphony (45)
18. A Dance for the Followers of Night (18) 32. Monkey's Dance (49)
19. Second Act Tune: Air (19) 33. Chaconne, Dance for the Chinese Man and Woman (57)
The Third Act Suite 34. "Fifth Act Tune" (59)
20. Prelude "Love's a Sweet Passion" (20)  
21. Overture: symphony while the swams come forward (21)  
Autres références disponibles via la base de données de Todd McComb/ Other available references  via Todd McComb's database:
(Site: http://www.medieval.org)
Re: Astrée 9934
Autres liens à visiter / Links of interest
A short biography

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Other topics of interest on this site:

Harmonia Mundi / Gold - Appréciations

Goldberg Magazine - 1998-2008 - Les 50 meilleurs cd de la décennie

Harmonia Mundi / Gold - The critics' point of view

Goldberg Magazine - 1998-2008 - The 50 best cds of    the decade

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To order / Commander
Réédition / Reissued
Alia Vox AVSA9866

Fairy Queen The Prophetess-orchestral Suites

Alia Vox:9866


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