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Until the late 1680s, Henry Purcell composed almost exclusively for the royal court. But when the monarchy decided to reduce its expenditure on music in 1690, he joined the United Company, a London theatre company, and devoted himself to composing for its productions. These took varied forms, with operas such as King Arthur (1691), The Fairy Queen (1692) and The Indian Queen (1695) but also spoken plays with music, such as The Virtuous Wife (1695). It is excerpts from these works that are presented in Tyrannic Love. Compositions by Purcell’s colleagues or followers John Blow, John Eccles, Jeremiah Clarke and Daniel Purcell complete the programme. This recording marks the beginning of the collaboration between Alpha and the ensemble Les Surprises, founded in 2010, which takes its name from Les Surprises de l’Amour by Rameau, the group’s emblematic composer. Under the artistic direction of Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas, who is also an organist and harpsichordist, the ensemble presents innovative interpretations and explores the rich orchestral sonorities made possible by the use of Baroque instruments.

"(…)the group take a brisk approach, but are capable of intimacy too, giving a sympathetic account of Blow's air Poor Celadon. "
The Guardian
"Underpinning it all is the splendidly animated and responsive instrumental playing of Les Surprises themselves. (…) The disc is rounded off with the exultant instrumental Chaconne from King Arthur, a suitably uplifting close to a tremendously spirited and expertly recorded album. "
"The English Orpheus” remains supreme, but Purcell's contemporaries contributed vitally to the richness of late 17th-century English musical life, as this unusual compilation performed by the French early-music group Les Surprises demonstrates. Blow and Eccles also shine. The Purcell items are mostly from his less well-known works, but still a pleasure."
The Times