Reviewer: Rob Barnett
This is one of the gems
of the Harmonia Mundi back-catalogue. Even at the age of 67 and recorded within
three months of his death Deller preserves his
special purity almost completely unimpaired. Only at the end of some demanding
phrases is there the slightest hint of crumbling. What remains is his exemplary
purity of stratospheric tone. He makes play with a delightful affected tremble
in If Music be the Food of Love and his bird-like attack in miniature on
quite high notes is memorable in Not all my torments. A sepulchral
cortege is evoked through O lead me to some peaceful gloom with its
evocative shrill trumpets. Equally stygian is the instrumental tissue for O
Solitude while Deller's voice courses high above. The instrumental ensemble
comprises various permutations of clavecin, baroque violin, organ and bass viol.
The notes include a useful chronology of Deller's life and there are essays by
David Vickers, Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Paul Elliott
and Bernard Coutaz. A rich context indeed.