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Having established a fine reputation as an instrumental ensemble with critically acclaimed recordings of music by Zelenka and Fasch, this is the first foray into vocal music for Ensemble Marsyas. Peter Whelan, directing from the harpsichord, makes his conducting debut.
Due to the original overture not surviving Ensemble Marsyas has substituted Handel's overture Il pastor fido; its pastoral nature is perfectly juxtaposed with the more dramatic cantata which follows. Il pastor fido was described by 18th-century music historian Charles Burney as 'one of the most masterly and pleasing of the kind'.
Apollo e Dafne is one of Handel's most ambitious cantatas giving an early indication of what was to be a brilliant operatic career in the next thirty years of his life. Joining Ensemble Marsyas for Apollo e Dafne are soprano Mhairi Lawson (Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort) and bass Callum Thorpe (William Christie's Les Jardins de Voix).
Fans of Ensemble Marsyas' instrumental performances will also be pleased to see the inclusion of two recital pieces for wind ensemble, which gives the core members a chance to shine.