Classical Home Listening: A Time Capsule from 1953; Caio Fabbricio; Power and Adès at the cinema | Classical music
The Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (Warner Classics) on disc can be of distinctly casual interest. But whatever your Republican leanings, don’t discount the historical interest of this remaster of the ceremony at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. It captures a moment in mid-twentieth-century musical life, featuring composers long since ignored and now back in the fray: George Dyson, Herbert Howells, Ernest Bullock, Gordon Jacob, as well as William Walton and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The recording might sound woolly, the sung prayers a little gas-and-gaiter-shaking by today’s standards, but once the opening bars of Handel Zadok’s coronation anthem the priest explodes into the life, followed by cries of “God save the Queen” and trumpet fanfares, which may not be restless. OK, there are always a few, but I dare you.
In a world premiere recording, London Early Opera presented Handel’s ‘compilation’ opera Caio Fabbricio (Signum Classics) back to public attention, directed and rebuilt by Bridget Cunningham. The work, about an incorruptible Roman ambassador charged with making peace between the Romans and the Greeks, was first performed in 1733, based on an earlier opera by Johann Adolf Hasse, with additional arias by major composers of the era and new recitatives by Handel: hence the name “pasticcio”.
As a listener, you can only be sure who wrote what by following the text and track listing in the full booklet. Easier to appreciate this outpouring of vigorously performed baroque music, with seven of the finest young singers working in the operatic sphere: Fleur Barron, Morgan Pearse, Miriam Allan, Anna Gorbachyova-Ogilvie, Hannah Poulsom, Helen Charlston and Jess Dandy . The orchestral playing is strong and agile, led by Cunningham on the harpsichord.
viola player Laurent Poweralways keen to expand our experience of music, collaborated with the production company Âme and the composer-pianist Thomas Adès to produce a visual album, dark pastoral (conducted by Jessie Rodger), three Berceuses for viola and piano by Adès. Beautifully filmed and acted.