Henry Purcell is a Grandaddy in the world of early music. There are a couple of Big Names that most people who are into music, but not early music, have heard of, and Purcell is always one of them. He lived in the late 17th century, and was right on the border, getting baroque music started in England. He wrote the first English chamber opera, Dido and Aeneas, and wrote enough sacred music to fill about a hundred recordings. He’s influenced everyone from Elgar to Pete Townsend of The Who, who said that his harmonies are based on Purcell’s.
This week I’ve been listening to A Purcell Collection from Voces8, a vocal group based in the UK that has a recording contract with Decca, and must receive the award for the Bass with the Most Unique Name in the world: Dingle Yandell. Seriously, his parents thought that was a good name. Who names their kid Dingle? But I digress. The guy’s super-cute, and he can sing, so who care’s what he’s called?
I like Voces8 a lot (though sometimes I call them V8 and pretend they’re vegetable juice). Their new album is called Eventide, and has more modern music on it, but lately I’ve been in a Purcell mood, and this album from 2013 does it for me. It was a Classic FM “Choice for the Curious” pick, so if you’re curious, have a listen (and then download the album on itunes. If you’re into this stuff, it will be on regular rotation, I promise).