You can find more powerful countertenors than Iestyn Davies, and those more aligned with the somehow youthful quality of the voice type. But Davies has been consistently successful, and Elegy offers an excellent example as to why. He is unerringly precise in pitch and diction. He believes what he's singing, and he puts together convincing, interesting programs. Elegy, featuring music by Purcell and Blow, and culminating in Blow's ode on the death of his student Purcell, is a study in multiple contrasts, and it's lovely. First, it explores the idea of the musical elegy in this post-Commonwealth era, with chamber pieces made up of sighing figures, big and imposing odes on royal passing, and somehow joyous evocations of the deceased. Second, there is the contrast between Purcell, the genius, and the less brilliant but often extremely powerful Blow. Lastly, there is the contrast between Davies' voice and that of countertenor James Hall on this album of duets, with very confident, easy backing by the King's Consort under Robert King, who made the performing editions. Sample the "Three Elegies upon the much lamented loss of our late most gracious Queen Mary," where all these contrasts appear. A very fine album of 17th century English music.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Hail, bright Cecilia|
Three Elegies upon the much lamented loss of our late most gracious Queen Mary: The Queen's Epicedium: Incassum Lesbia
Three Elegies upon the much lamented loss of our late most gracious Queen Mary: The Queen's Epicedium: No, Lesbia, no, you ask in vain
Three Elegies upon the much lamented loss of our late most gracious Queen Mary: O dive custos Auriciae domus
|An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell|