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It is 60 years ago in September 1951 that Anthony Lewis made the first recording of Blow’s through-sung entertainment, Venus and Adonis. It was a major event in the early days of vinyl, and the great French painter, Marie Laurencin, was specially commissioned to provide a watercolour for the sleeve. Masque, opera, call it what you will, Venus and Adonis (c.1682) is a work of beguiling, intimate and ingenuous charm. Th e libretto, by an unidentified hand is, in part at least, a satire on court life, but essentially it is a pastoral and one with a profoundly affecting third act where Venus mourns the death of her lover, Adonis. While the overture, prologue and dances look to France, Italian and English ingredients are also pitched into the stylistic melting pot, with Blow’s characteristically adventurous and sharply defined harmonic idiom providing delicious piquancy. The Boston Early Music Festival production is delightful with Amanda Forsythe as a warmly communicative Venus. Every music lover on the planet should get to know this little masterpiece of the English Restoration.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2011 - ©Rhinegold Publishing