Daniel Taylor

Daniel Taylor Sings Purcell & Dowland

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Daniel Taylor is a Canadian countertenor, one of a group that has come on the scene in recent years and given promise that soon the countertenor voice will be considered less an exotic specialty and more a generally cultivated voice type. Taylor, perhaps more than other countertenors active today, sounds as though he is engaging in a natural kind of voice production rather than channeling his voice into circuitous channels. His sound is quite awesomely smooth, little touched by vibrato or strong passion, restrained, extremely elegant, and modest in dimension -- perfect, in short, for the Dowland songs and mostly smaller Purcell airs that make up the bulk of this two-CD compilation, drawn from a pair of earlier releases. The set contains two of the great melancholy peaks of English song: John Blow's So ceas'd the rival crew and John Dowland's long Lachrimae Antiquae (Flow my tears). Taylor's readings of these are beautifully controlled, and, even though he does not have a really authoritative presence, both build to passages of great intensity. The downsides of the collection are few. No texts are included -- not a serious problem, for Taylor's articulation is crystal clear, but being able to glance over the texts and internalize them would free the listener's attention to focus on the subtleties of Taylor's singing. And of the two authentic-instrument ensembles that accompany Taylor here, the oddly named Da Sonar is more attuned to his style than the somewhat more mannered Les Voix Humaines. Nevertheless, for an introduction to the chamber sort of countertenor voice, buyers can hardly do better than this consistently gorgeous and budget-priced set.

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