Ludus Danielis - Play of Daniel / Lawrence-King, Harp Consort

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A thoughtful and attractive rendering of The Play of Daniel, with Douglas Nasrawi as a wonderfully expressive Daniel, accompanied by a superbly skilled instrumental ensemble.

Andrew Lawrence-King has assembled a thoughtful and attractive rendering of The Play of Daniel. The rhythmic interpretation of the unmeasured pitches is sensitively varied. A single pitch-standard is retained throughout — which seems to me the best approach, though there are plenty of good reasons for thinking otherwise. And, most important of all, the drama works well because careful and original thought has been given to the meaning of the words: as one example among many, Daniel's final speech is prefaced with a grand organ introduction that actively frames it as a prophecy well apart from the story. In fact the entire flow of the closing scenes is particularly effectively caught.

Douglas Nasrawi is an excellent Daniel, managing to encompass the wide range of musical styles in the role without losing the strong character; and he gives a wonderfully expressive reading of the great lament as Daniel enters the lions' den. Ian Honeyman may well be the first Darius on record to portray him fully as a thoroughly nice but weak man: somehow the music invites a bolder approach at the moment when Darius usurps Belshazzar, but plainly the present interpretation works better. Harry van der Kamp is a splendidly strong Belshazzar; and all the smaller roles are well characterized.

Alongside this is a superbly skilled instrumental ensemble. There is a reasonable case for thinking instruments are unnecessary in Daniel and impede the musical flow; but here their performances are so good and so well judged that most listeners will welcome their contribution. There are many different ways of doing The Play of Daniel, but this one is thoroughly viable throughout and is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

-- Gramophone [12/1998]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: DHM77395

  • UPC: 054727739521

  • Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi

  • Composer: Anonymous

  • Conductor: Andrew Lawrence-King

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Harp Consort

  • Performer: Andrew Lawrence-King, Barbara Borden, Belinda Sykes, Caitríona O'Leary, Douglas Nasrawi, Harry Van der Kamp, Ian Honeyman, Jeremy Birchall, Paolo Fanciullacci, Rodrigo Del Pozo