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The talented Austrian lutenist Christina Pluhar has an unbuttoned approach to music of all eras; I have much enjoyed some of her foot-tapping Monteverdi and bergamask stuff – usually better when instrumental, I find, thanks to a weakness for getting singers to perform with Europop inflections. But this misguided disc is a horrifying example of what can happen when classical musicians let their hair down: usually they reveal disastrous taste in all other music. Here we veer from something close to jaunty Red Priest-type territory of strummed-up accompaniments (though largely without that group’s joy or freedom) to creepy, stylelessly ‘tasteful’ pseudo-jazz renditions of ‘Music for a while’ and other beloved songs, with decently executed but fatally middle-of-the-road noodlings on sax and guitar and Philippe Jaroussky somehow induced to forget what makes him such a fabulous singer. Purcell can handle a deal of messing (and those ground basses are a shoo-in for jazz treatment), but these croonings and caterwaulings by non-Anglophone singers (including the dreaded Dominique Visse, with his trademark ‘funny voices’) trying to swing and forgetting to sing are genuinely unpleasant.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica


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