PURCELL- HEKKEMA: Dido & Aeneazz
Calefax Ensemble
PENTATONE SACD 5186758 TT: 81:11

JET SET! Classical Glitterati
Music of Zelter, Abel, Mozart, Reicharat, Styorace, and Paisiello
Simon Murphy, viola and conductor / Guarun Sidonie Otto, soprano. New Dutch Academy
PENTATONE SACD 5186787 TT: 66:09

The New Dutch Academy has been around since 2002. It consists of about 40 musicians all specialists in the performance of music on period instruyments/Their r music director is Simon Murphy, and they have made a number of recordings for Pentatone, some praised on this site. Their latest SACD has the odd title Jet Set! CD notes suggest the works on this disk represent the "jet set music"of the composers, quite a stretch. But the music is superbly played and includes premiere recprdomgs of works by Carl Friedrich Abel and a brief symphony by Kpjamm Froedrocj Reichardt. First-class performances and the recording made May 2017 in the Gothic Hall of theCouncil of State, The Hague, is perfetly balanced and natural.

Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, based on Virgil's story, tells of is the tragic love of the Carthaginian Queen Dido who falls in love with the shipwrecked sailor Aeneas. Their love is ill-fated as he must return to Rome, and Dido looks forward to death as the opera ends. This is considered to be Purcell's finest opera and there have been countless recordings often featuring great singers and conductors of the past. Here now is a "swinging" version of this great work eliminating voices and using a wide variety of instruments. The title has been changed to Dido & Aeneazz. The score has been "recomposed" by Raaf Hekkema with newly-composed music arranged by Eric Vloeimans. The ensemble is named Calefax and instruments are oboe, Cor Anglais, C. Mollenhauer Oboe , clarinet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, drums, and double bass. Performers are Oliver Boekhoorn, Ivar Berix, Raaf Hekkema, Jelte Althuis, Al;ban Wesly, Eric Vloeimans, Jasper van Hulten and Gulli Glumness. All are masters of their instruments. The recording was made June 2018 in Lutherse Kerk, Haarlem, and the multi-channel audio is superb. Purcell might be turning over in his grave — but then perhaps he is smiling .

R.E.B. (June 2019)