Researching the treasure trove of popular music from the
past is under way by record companies. Here, for instance, is a truly delightful
selection, mostly from established composers in London who during the 18th
century served the theatre and pleasure garden.
Scattered amongst the well-known we find rarities, such as two Scottish
songs in adorable settings by J C Bach [listen - track
12, 03:50 - 04:42]. Handel appears with a sweet and melancholy aria
from the curiously-named The What d'ye Call it? But with tunes that
stuck and are still known and sung today, return to their natural dimension
puts the shine back. For instance, Purcell's Fairest Isle as intended
by the composer in a specific context is glorious. This only goes to prove
that such pops gain little from their freedom except butchery.
Two unknown Overtures typically incorporate a string of tunes, although
the second overture - by Francesco Barsanti - is more vigorously worked
in contrapuntal fashion.
Considerable pleasure can be expected from this well-researched and superbly-presented
record of known and unknown pieces from our musical heritage.
Copyright © 10 May 2000 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK
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