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Eccles & Purcell

John Eccles The Judgement of Paris
Henry Purcell Masque from 'Dioclesian'

Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn
Lucy Crowe, soprano
Claire Booth, soprano
Susan Bickley, mezzo soprano
Jeremy Budd, tenor
Roderick Williams, baritone
Andrew Foster-Williams, bass

Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 16 May 2009,
St John's, Smith Square London

This was an enjoyable concert, but the first half of Eccles (Finger and Eccles are small talents - the latter's cakes are more distinctive than his music!) passed pleasantly enough but was soon upstaged by the greater originality of Purcell's.

Bacchus's trio "Drink and despise the political ass" rang a topical bell at St John's, a stone's throw from our compromised Parliament...

Before the performance of the Dioclesian music, a prestigious success for the Early Opera Company was announced; their recording of Semele had been awarded The Stanley Sadie Handel Prize. [Reviewed at http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/HandelSemeleEOC.html]

The sound at St John's is a little muddied half way back(front and extreme back are best there) and we felt that the EOC was in need of a "consonants coach", so indistinct were the words of the distinguished lady singers in particular. Roderick Williams impressed, as he always does, and Jeremy Budd has a pleasing light tenor.

The Eccles Judgement of Paris is far more vivid and involving on the EOC's recent Chandos/Chaconne CD, in which Benjamin Hulett is a winning Paris.

Peter Grahame Woolf