CLASSICAL: NEW RELEASES

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The Independent Culture
Beethoven, Krufft, Lachner: Lieder, Prergardien, Staier (Teldec)

Of the works here, only Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte cycle is likely to be familiar. But it's the six songs by Nikolaus von Krufft, an amateur composer of apparently great skill, which are the real finds. Tenor Christoph Pregardien sings with his customary elegance, while Andreas Staier, playing two fortepianos (one an original, the other a superb copy), is so much more than a mere accompanist. HHHHH

Blow: Venus & Adonis Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, soloists, Jacobs (harmonia mundi)

John Blow's Venus & Adonis shares with Purcell's Dido and Aeneas many pointers which indicate the influence of French opera. Rene Jacobs conducts a superb set of soloists, along with the choir of Clare College Chapel, in a fine reading that, despite some truly beautiful singing, doesn't quite manage to eclipse Philip Pickett's exemplary recording for L'Oiseau-Lyre. HHHH

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