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What a delightful piece this is! In his excellent notes, Stephen Johnson describes it as ‘a beautifully sequenced orchestral song recital’, and it’s the vivid intimacy of the best recitals that Rattle, his players and his choice cast achieves here. Matthews is utterly convincing in the taxing role of the Peri, Padmore a forthright, crystalline narrator, while the quartet of Kate Royal, Bernarda Fink, Andrew Staples and Florian Boesch is luxury casting. Format luxury too: a single blu-ray audio disc on top of the usual (excellent) SACDS.

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