Tomorrow evening Philippe Jaroussky performs songs set to poems by Paul Verlaine at the Morgan Library and in several weeks Andreas Scholl returns to New York for two recitals of English music at the Park Avenue Armory. The concerts are nearly sold out, so “Trove Thursday” presents these two star countertenors in a beguiling all-Purcell program from 2010. In addition to being one of England’s greatest composers, Henry Purcell was also a countertenor and he wrote some exquisite music for that voice, both solos and duets. One used to only hear Purcell performed by British artists but that has thankfully changed although such wonderful recordings as Les Arts Florissants’s The Fairy Queen have been criticized as “Frenchifying” the music.
Scholl has made an excellent Purcell recording with Accademia Bizantina where his countertenor partner is Christophe Dumaux, and there’s a Jaroussky Purcell recording with L’Arpeggiata but I’ve avoided it as I dislike Christina Pluhar’s music-making.
But this concert from Brussels brings together Scholl and Jaroussky in a rare and happy collaboration.
Today’s posting also seems a fitting way to mark the fifth anniversary of my first (or rather DeCaffarrelli’s) piece for Parterre Box—a review of a CD reissue of Hasse’s Cleofide that features four countertenors!
Purcell Arias, Songs & Instrumental Pieces
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels