Judgment of Paris
We produce unique, research-based performance projects, avoiding well-trodden paths wherever possible. Here's what we've been up to recently...
In March 2014 we released our second album on the Resonus Classics label – the world-premiere recording of The Judgment of Paris, by Daniel Purcell. Written for a competition in 1701, it is one of the very first operas to be performed in London – sung throughout and entirely in English. Watch our project video.
We’re delighted with the critical and public response to our latest album! Including:
‘Thanks to this well-made recording [The Judgment of Paris]… an overlooked episode in English musical history is exposed’ **** Financial Times, March 2014
‘High-quality entertainment’ BBC Radio 3, CD Review, February 2014
‘[The Judgment of Paris] is one of Resonus’s most enjoyable discoveries and it’s my own personal favourite. […] it introduces us – me, at any rate – to some fine young performers.’
Recording of the month, March 2014
Thanks to a new edition of the opera by Spiritato! trumpeter William Russell, we were able to bring this forgotten masterpiece back to life. We hope this work will shed new light on an exciting and inventive composer working at a time of great musical and social change.Daniel Purcell (c.1670-1717) is a man of mystery. For a long time he was regarded as the brother of the famous Henry Purcell, but recent research has suggested he may in fact have been his cousin. Both the Purcell’s benefited from a similar musical upbringing, yet whilst Henry has achieved immortality, Daniel and his many works have been overshadowed and are now almost entirely forgotten.
Despite this, he was a composer of great skill, who sustained a successful career for over twenty years following the death of his brother. He was able to embrace new styles, and his innovative use of highly fashionable Italian ideas alongside more traditional ‘Purcellian’ sounds, created a visionary and vibrant soundworld full of surprise and excitement.
Purcell’s music for The Judgment of Paris is set to a libretto by the renowned playwright William Congreve and gives us a spectacular picture of his vision for a new, English form of opera. At this time almost all works for the theatre, including the famous semi-operas of Henry Purcell, were essentially plays, with instrumental music, songs and dances thrown in to add to the entertainment. Often the interludes bore no thematic resemblance to the action on stage at all and the main characters were played by actors, not singers.What was so revolutionary about The Judgment of Paris, was that all the roles were sung throughout. The opera was also conceived with a new sense of direction for the theatre – there are no dances (something even Dido and Aeneas and Venus and Adonis couldn’t do without) so the plot is never stationary, it flows smoothly from the first song through to the final Grand Chorus.
Interest in Daniel Purcell and his music has increased dramatically in recent years. He is finally being recognised on his own merits and we can’t wait to add to his story!
We're now planning more projects around the music following Henry Purcell's death. This is just the beginning…