Phantasm's performances of these fantasias are transparently clear, timbrally attractive, and, through their consistently well-considered balances, texturally inventive. The notes by Laurence Dreyfus are among the most illuminating ever to accompany a disc, bringing to the reader almost as many insights as the performance itself brings to the listener. The recorded sound is a model of clarity and presence, once again nearly as revelatory as the performances themselves. If I were pressed to identify the greatest string music of all time, these youthful fantasias by Purcell would come as readily to my mind as Beethoven's late string quartets. This is music that seems to open the seals of the great book of life. The dearth of recordings of the fantasias need no longer plague devotees of these magnificent works. (In the same breath should be mentioned Jordi Savall's with Hesperion XX, more reflective but less straightforward timbrally and interpretively than Phantasm's.) Happy days are indeed here again, because Phantasm's excellent recording also deserves a high commendation."



Mär 1997


Robert Maxham

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