Philippe Herreweghe and the Choeur et Orchestre du Collegium Vocale 1998 recording of Purcell's celebratory masterpiece may be more a Vivat! Radieuse Cecile, Vivat! than Hail, Bright Cecilia, but it is still one of the all-time great recordings of the work. Herreweghe more than almost any other conductor of the past 20 years captures the heights and depths of the music. The grandeur of the choruses and the intimacy of the arias and duets are here, along with brilliant and colorful orchestral playing, but the best thing about the performance is the sublimity of Herreweghe's interpretation. Too often in the period music movement, lightness and speed are valued over expression and transcendence, but Herreweghe's Purcell is no less an expressive or transcendent composer than his Bach and his Hail, Bright Cecilia is no less overwhelming than his Mass in B minor. Harmonia Mundi's sound is as rich and warm as digital ever gets.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Hail, bright Cecilia (Ode for St. Cecilia's Day), for soloists, chorus & instruments, Z. 328|
|Welcome to all the pleasures (An Ode for St. Cecilia's Day), for soloists, chorus & instruments, Z. 339|