Henry Purcell — Music For a While
A recording from “La Boîte à Musique”…
Countertenor: Philippe Jaroussky
Piano: Jean-François Zygel
This recording kept me in the unnatural state of happiness for two days in a row now already! I feel light-hearted, smile at people without a reason — which tends to irritate them, as it is contradicting my normal approach, apparently… I freakishly fell in love again with my all time favourite song of all times. What renewed my love is that recording.
I always thought the bass-line of Purcell’s song had something archaic, weird, and scary to it — untamed and impossible to withstand. I think it is the best bass-line ever written.
In my mind the line was always played by a pizzicato contrabass or a fretless e-bass, as it sounds not baroque, but rather timeless. and, if anything, like Jazz.
Now … HOW the two of them are performing that song! I have rarely seen a better pair in music. The small embellishments they add that complement each other, the perfect choice of tempo, their perfect timing, none of them overacting,…*)
And … as the song goes along, they make it more and more definitely jazzy, with every slightest delay of a grace note more and more. It made me freak out!
Just — to fall for!
*) I dislike, e.g., when ” ’til the snakes drop, drop, drop…” is turned into a vocal travesty.
(That Jaroussky looks splendid — as always — and Zygel is quite cute — if you are into the Groucho Marx type — is only a minor factor. I put it to the test and listened to Deller’s version for five times in a row while looking at pictures of Jason Issacs — didn’t do the trick.)
I added the lyrics below for anyone who might want to re-read them.
“Music for a while
shall all your cares beguile,
wond’ring how your pains were eas’d,
and disdaining to be pleas’d,
till Alecto free the Dead
from their eternal band.
till the snakes drop from her Head,
and the whip from out her hand”
— from “Oedipus” by John Dryden, Music by Henry Purcell —
Also perfect, the wonderful interpretation of “Wight is Wight” at around 07:00.