Henry Purcell – The Fairy Queen

Henry Purcell – The Fairy Queen
An Opera in Five Acts
The Deller Consort & Stour Music Chorus and Orchestra – Alfred Deller, dir.
Vanguard « Everyman » 311 / 12 [LPx2, US]


    Henry Purcell (m) / ?Thomas Betterton (t) after a Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
    The Fairy Queen (Z. 629, 1692 version)

    LP-1, side 1

  1. Overture: Grave / Canzona (Z. 629/3)
  2. Act I

  3. Prelude and Aria (a Fairy, an Elf): Come. Come, come, let us leave the town (Z. 629/4)
  4. Prelude, Aria (a Poet, two Fairies, Elves) and Chorus: Fill up the bowl! (Scene of the drunken poet):(Z. 629/5)
  5. First Act Tune: jig (Z. 629/6)
  6. Act II

  7. Prelude (an Elf): Come all ye songsters of the sky (Z. 629/7)
  8. Prelude (Birds fly down, singing) (Z. 629/8a)
  9. Trio (Three Elves): May the God of Wit inspire (Z. 629/8b)
  10. Trio (Three Elves): While Echo shall remote (Z. 629/8c)
  11. Chorus (Fairies, Elves): Now join your warbling voices all (Z. 629/9)
  12. Aria (Fairy) and Chorus: Sing while we trip it upon the green (Z. 629/10ab)
    A dance of the fairies (Z. 629/10c)
  13. Prelude and Aria (Night): See even Night herself is here (Z. 629/11)
  14. Aria (Mystery): I am come to lock all fast (Z. 629/12)
  15. Prelude and Aria (Secrecy): One charming night (Z. 629/13)
  16. LP-2, side 1

  17. Aria (Sleep) and Chorus: Hush, no more (Z. 629/14)
  18. Dance for the followers of night (Z. 629/15)
  19. Second act tune (Z. 629/16)
  20. Act III

  21. Prelude, Aria (a Wood Nymph) and Chorus (Nymphs): If love's a sweet passion (Z. 629/17)
  22. Overture / Symphony: Symphony of the swans (Z. 629/18)
  23. Dance for the fairies (Z. 629/19)
  24. Dance for the green men (Z. 629/20)
  25. Aria (dialogue – Corydon, Mopsa): Now the maids and the men (Z. 629/22)
  26. Aeia (a Water Nymph): When I have often heard (Z. 629/23)
  27. Dance for the Haymakers (Z. 629/24ab)
  28. Aria (Corydon, Mopsa) and Chorus: A thousand, thousand ways we'll find (Z. 629/25)
  29. Third act tune (Z. 629/26)
  30. LP-2, side 3

    Act IV

  31. Symphony (Sonata while the sun risees): (Z. 629/27)
  32. Aria (Ist Attendant) and Chorus: Now the night is chas'd away (Z. 629/28)
  33. Duet (Two other Attendants): Let the fifes, and the clarions (Z. 629/29)
  34. Entry of Phoebus (Z. 629/30)
  35. Prelude and Aria (Phoebus): When a cruel long winter (Z. 629/31)
  36. Chorus (Fairies and Elves): Hail! Great parent of all us (Z. 629/32)
  37. Prelude and Aria (Spring): Thus the ever grateful spring (Z. 629/33)
  38. Prelude and Aria (Summer): Here's the summer, sprightly, gay (Z. 629/34)
  39. Prelude and Aria (Autumn): See my many colour'd fields (Z. 629/35)
  40. Prelude and Aria (Winter): Now winter come slowly (Z. 629/36)
  41. Chorus (Fairies and Elves): Hail! great parent of us all (Repeat) (Z. 629/37)
  42. Fourth Act tune (Z. 629/38)
  43. LP-1, side 2

    Act V

  44. Prelude to Juno's song (Z. 629/39a)
  45. Aria (Juno): Thrice Happy Lovers (Epithalamium) (Z. 629/39bc)
  46. Entry dance (Z. 629/41)
  47. Symphony (Z. 629/42)
  48. Aria (a Chinese man): Thus the gloomy world at first began to shine (Z. 629/43)
  49. Prelude, Aria (a Chinese woman) and Chorus: Thus happy and free (Z. 629/44)
  50. Ground and Aria (Chinese man): Yes, Xansi, in your look I find (Z. 629/45)
  51. Monkies' Dance (Z. 629/46)
  52. Prelude and Aria (a Chinese woman): Hark how all things in one sound agree (Z. 629/47)
  53. Aria (Second chinese woman) and Chorus: Hark, how the echoing air (Z. 629/48)
  54. Duet (Two Chinese Women) and Chorus: Sure the dull god of marriage (Z. 629/49)
  55. Prelude (Hymen enters) (Z. 629/50a)
    Aria (Hymen): See, see, I obey (Z. 629/50b)
  56. Duet (Both women): Turn then thine eyes (Z. 629/50c)
  57. Aria (Hymen): My torch indeed will from such brightness shine (Z. 629/50d)
  58. Trio (Women and Hymen): They shall be as happy (Z. 629/50ef)
  59. Chaconne (Dance for the chinese man and woman) (Z. 629/51)
  60. Chorus: They shall be as happy as they're fair (Z. 629/51)

Playing time: (10' 42" + 15' 25") + (8' 35" + 19' 20") + 27' 13" + 30' 53" = 1h 52' 08"

Honor Sheppard (soprano – Fairy, Night, Second Wood Nymph, Spring, Second Chinese woman, a woman), Jean Knibbs (soprano – Fairy, Mystery, Water Nymph, First Attendant, Fist Chinese woman), Christina Clarke (soprano – Fairy, First Wood Nymph, Juno), Alfred Deller (counter-tenor – Elf, Mopsa, Second Attendant, Summer, Chinese man), Mark Deller (counter-tenor – Secrecy, Third Attendant), John Buttrey (tenor – Elf, Autumn), Neil Jenkins (tenor – Phoebus), Maurice Bevan (baritone – Elf, Sleep, Winter, Hymen), Norman Platt (baritone – Drunken poet, Corydon)
Stour Music Chorus and Orchestra
Penelope Howard (leader)
Alfred Deller, dir.

Recording site and date:
Unknown [1972]
Rel. 1972

Harmonia mundi HMD 231 Henry Purcell – The Fairy Queen

Reviewed in:

Information from LP (Vanguard & HM).
This is a slightly abridged version (1h 52' 08" vs 2h 09' 33") compared to the Harmonia mundi release. It is stated on the back cover that this is "the original 1692 version, omitting the 1693 additions to Acts Three (Aria (another Wood Nymph): Ye gentle spirits of the air appear (Z. 629/21)) and Five (Aria (a Woman): O let me weep (The plaint) (Z. 629/40)), and the First and Second Music".

To FAQ references to this recording.

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Pierre-F. Roberge