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Thomas Arne: The Judgment of Paris


Release Date: May 2019

Thomas Arne (1710-78)
The Judgment of Paris (1742)
Words: William Congreve (1670-1729)
Edited by Ian Spink (1978)

Thomas Arne’s opera The Judgment of Paris (1742), a setting of William Congreve’s libretto of the same name, is known only from the printed score, but in this world premiere recording is performed with panache and authority by The Brook Street Band and a scintillating young cast led by sopranos Mary Bevan (Venus), Susanna Fairbairn (Pallas) and Gillian Ramm (Juno), with tenors Ed Lyon as the shepherd Paris and Anthony Gregory as Mercury, all under the expert direction of conductor John Andrews.

By the end of the opera we are not surprised when Venus’s softly, softly appeal to her shepherd judge succeeds over the more demonstrative blandishments of her competitors, Pallas and Juno.

This is a lovely discovery, with all the cast joining in the spirit of this fable to give it a stylish and compelling revival.
(Dutton Vocalion)

1 Largo – Con spirito 11 Air (Paris) Distracted I turn
2 Minuet (Andante) 12 Air (Juno) Let ambition fire thy mind
3 Giga (Con spirit) 13 Accompanied recitative (Pallas) Awake, awake, thy spirits raise
4 Recitative (Mercury, Paris) From high Olympus 14  
5 Accompanied Recitative (Paris) O ravishing delight 15  
6 Air (Mercury) Fear not, mortal 16  
7 Duet (Mercury, Paris) Happy I of human race 17  
8 Recitative (Juno, Pallas) Saturnia, wife of thund’ring Jove am I 18  
9 Air (Venus) Gentle swain! Hither turn thee 19  
10 Trio (Pallas, Juno, Venus) Hither turn thee, gentle swain 20  
11 Air (Paris) Distracted I turn 21  
12 Air (Juno) Let ambition fire thy mind    
13 Accompanied recitative (Pallas) Awake, awake, thy spirits raise    
14 Air (Pallas) The glorious voice of war    
15 Chorus O how glorious ‘tis to see    
16 Accompanied Recitative (Venus) Stay, lovely youth    
17 Air (Venus) One only joy mankind can know    
18 Air (Venus) Nature fram’d thee sure for loving    
19 Accompanied Recitative (Pallas) I yield, I yield, O take the prize    
20 Air (Paris) Forbear, O goddess of desire    
21 Grand Chorus Hither all ye graces    
22 Grand Chorus Sing and spread the joyful news around    

Mary Bevan (soprano) Venus
Susanna Fairbairn (soprano) Pallas
Gillian Ramm (soprano) Juno
Ed Lyon (tenor) Paris
Anthony Gregory (tenor) Mercury
Andrew Mahon (bass) Chorus

The Brook Street Band
Conductor John Andrews

‘The performance is lovely. John Andrews conducts with flair and style, and there’s some delectable playing from The Brook Street Band.’
Gramophone Magazine

‘It’s all sung with a suitable lightness of touch, with sparkling accompaniment from The Brook Street Band, all artfully directed by John Andrews.’
The Observer

‘Andrews’s stylish conducting makes a strong case for this English baroque discovery.’
The Sunday Times

‘The playing is delightfully buoyant, the recording intimately truthful.’
Radio 3 Record Review

‘This performance, by the Brook Street Band is absolutely magisterial. Do not be fooled by the more familiar connotations of its titular designation. The Brook Street Band is glorious.  Named for the London street on which Handel lived for much of his London residency, and best regarded for its handling of his repertoire, the Band was formed in 1996 by baroque cellist Tatty Theo and here comprises three first violins, two second violins, two violas, double bass, timpani, bassoon, a Flemish petit ravelment two manual harpsichord, two trumpeters, flautists and oboes, Theo, of course, supplies cello continuo.’
Goldmine Mag

 ‘BSB’s chamber dimensions lend the performance a likeable intimacy and vivacity.’
Classical Source

‘The Brook Street Band, expanded beyond the group’s usual chamber proportions to 18, play Arne’s music with style.’
Planet Hugill