Purcell: Symphony While the Swans Come Forward / Fentross, La Sfera Armoniosa

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For their debut album on Challenge Classics, La Sfera Armoniosa and its artistic director have chosen orchestral music and arias from the operas by Henry Purcell. La Sfera Armoniosa, founded in 1992, is a Dutch Baroque ensemble and orchestra specializing in the performance of music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Artistic director Mike Fentross writes: “I was really moved when I heard my orchestra playing the opening bars of Purcell. I heard a sound that was quite different to what I knew from other present-day baroque orchestras. Was this sound closer to that of Purcell’s own orchestra, a sound that he may have had in mind when composing this wondrous music? In the very first chat I had about this project with Lidewij van der Voort, our new concertmaster, we talked about the modern adaptations that are often (and understandably) applied to baroque instruments nowadays, and about the possibility of going back to authentic strings (completely bare gut) and a 17th century bow hold (the French grip) for this Purcell project. As it happens, I’d had a similar conversation not long before that with Lidewei de Sterck, our principal oboist, about authentic reeds (scraped from the inside) and with Graham Nicholson, about 17th century trumpets (natural trumpets with no fingerholes). These aspects, seemingly just details, have a major impact not just on the sound but also the way of playing and therefore on the way we interpret the music. We all felt the need to record this album with these ‘experimental’ instruments. An orchestral sound with so much transparency and color, a way of playing with such narrative power!”

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CC 72783

  • UPC: 0608917278323

  • Label: Challenge