Purcell: Twelve Sonatas in Three Parts - Fanfare

Recorded in 2011, this disc features four members of the larger Retrospect Ensemble. The larger group recorded a much-heralded disc containing Bach’s Easter and Ascension Oratorios. The four call themselves the Retrospect Trio, which is the only eccentric thing about them that I know. Although not precisely a new recording, this collection (or reissue) is welcome nonetheless. Even with competitors such as the Purcell Quartet, the Retrospect Trio stands out for its lively rhythms, joyful sound, and the care with which the players bring out each movement’s character, such as the playfulness of the first movement of the 10th Sonata (Z 799). It virtually jumps here. But then the next movement has a yearning kind of sobriety: It is marked grave. Purcell is full of surprises. He begins the next movement with what is virtually a fanfare, which, subsiding, leads us into the final movement, marked Presto. So within this short works there is variety galore, high-spirits, and a special kind of lyricism, all of which this ensemble captures with aplomb. The recording sounds lovely as well: resonant and also precise.

22 April 2019