Symphony while the Swans come forward!
CD production with works by Purcell, on period instruments with 'La Sfera Armoniosa' (orchestra), Mike Fentross and Johannette Zomer
Let us - La Sfera Armoniosa (orchestra), Mike Fentross and soprano Johannette Zomer - take you back in time: 300 years ago. Mary Meggs, a former prostitute nicknamed 'Orange Moll' had been granted the licence to “vend, utter and sell oranges, lemons, fruit, sweetmeats and all manner of fruiterers and confectioners wares” at the London theatre Royal. It was the same theatre where the music from Henry Purcell sounded. Orange Moll hired “orange-girls”, selling the small, sweet “china” oranges to the audience inside the theatre... Men in love would offer an orange with a hidden letter to the woman they wanted to conquer.
We will record (a live recording we will be making in Essen (Germany on December 6th!) a selection of music for the theatre from four of Purcell's most important semi-operas: The Fairy Queen, The Indian Queen, King Arthur and The Prophetess. The orchestra 'La Sfera Armoniosa' will be playing on instruments (or copies of instruments) that were used during the composer's time. It was the sound of these instruments that the composer had in mind and inspired him to write this music. We find it exciting to bring this music in this specific sound world back to life. So, for this project our trumpet player and internationally acclaimed trumpet builder Graham Nicholson made two silver trumpets, for the first time since 1700, as they were used by the trumpet player of Purcell's orchestra, John Shore. Henry Purcell, perhaps England's most genius composer to date, passed away at the young age of 36.
One night he got home much to late, found the door of his house locked and had to stay outside the whole night in the freezing cold... In the last years of his life, Purcell composed a wealth of music for theatre. These theatre pieces weren't exactly operas, but rather theatre plays with music in between the scenes; so-called semi-operas. Spoken words and music alternated in these works, of which The Fairy Queen is his most popular one. The story is based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and was written for the fifteenth wedding anniversary of William and Mary. The songs and instrumental pieces within these semi-operas, such as "Symphony while the Swans come forward", "Dance for the followers of the night", "Butterfly dance, Dance of the furies", "If Love's a sweet passion" and "Ye gentle spirits of the air" are simply too intriguing not to bring them back to life and make them sound just like the composer himself, and all the men in love at the theatre, would have heard them. By supporting this project, you will help us make this (live-)recording possible and recreate the incredible sound world of perhaps England's most genius composer to date: Henry Purcell.
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