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All notions of Purcell as archaic, outmoded or fustian are swept aside in refreshing, daring, though faithful presentations; moreover Ms Sampson's extraordinary lyric gifts and inspired accompaniments elevate Victorious Love to surpassing heights.

From the opening bars of Sweeter than roses, the soloist's effortless tonal beauty illuminates every stanza while faultless diction and agile-fluid phrasing distinguish the entire programme.

Marvel at the empyrean marriage of voice and theorbo (long-necked lute) in The Fatal Hour (text anon). Then sample the longest and 2nd shortest items respectively; The Plaint (from The Fairy Queen, 1693) [listen -- track 4, 0:02-1:30] and I attempt from Love's sickness to fly in vain (from The Indian Queen, 1695).

Such is the provenance of this collection that one can hear it straight through or dip in at random; in either case the listener is treated to glorious song with inspirational accompaniments.

The vocal playfulness with which Ms Sampson intones the words 'liquor', 'serenade', 'cool', and 'wanton' [listen -- track 6, 0:59-1:22] in Man is for the woman made (from The Mock Marriage, 1695) can hardly fail to bring a smile to those who delight in true art.

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Copyright © 14 February 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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