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PURCELL: Dido and Aeneas (Flagstad, Schwarzkopf, Hemsley) (1952)

Composer(s):Bach, Johann SebastianHandel, George FridericPurcell, Henry
Period(s) Baroque (1600-1750)
Genre Classical Music
Category OperaVocal
Catalogue 8.111264
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps

When this recording of Dido and Aeneas first appeared in January 1953 The Gramophone commented: “At last we have a really satisfactory recording of Dido”.The reviewer found “Madame Flagstad in splendid voice and her tone is most perfectly controlled”. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was deemed “a vivacious Belinda”, Arda Mandikian’s Sorceress “sufficiently spiteful” and Thomas Hemsley “a dignified and slightly diffident Aeneas, but I imagine Dido gave him a strong inferiority complex”. Geraint Jones, who enjoyed a highly successful career as an organist, harpsichordist, conductor and recording producer, was praised for his “musicianly



Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The classic (1952) EMI recording now arrives as one of EMI’s ‘Great Recordings of the Century’, given a miraculous new transfer which, while not bringing stereo, gives a clear and refined yet full sound to voices and orchestra alike. With texts included, this can now rank alongside the finest of the stereo versions, and EMI have added as a bonus Flagstad’s earlier (1948) recording of Dido’s Lament. The recording also emerges with striking freshness in Mark Obert-Thorn’s new Naxos transfer, if not sound quite as fine as in the latest EMI remastering. Flagstad’s magnificent portrayal of Dido ranks alongside that of Janet Baker, and she scales her voice down superbly in her noble reading which brings beautiful shading and masterly


Review By David Denton, Naxos,August 2007

Under the watchful eye of Geraint Jones, the period expert of his day, two famous sopranos, Kirsten Flagstad and Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, were brought together in March 1952 in London's Abbey Road studios to record Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in the version held in the Library of St. Michael's College, Tenbury. It followed some highly publicised performances that Flagstad made at London's recently created Elizabethan playhouse, the Mermaid Theatre. Our understanding of period style has come a long way since then, and many will look back at this early effort with an indulgent smile, the well padded sound of violins, singers sliding up to notes as a performing practice being just a few of the anachronisms, though at least it offered a harpsichord among the accompanying instruments, a



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