Released on 1 January 2002
Music of John Tavener, Picforth, Ward and Purcell. With Michael Chance (countertenor) and Nicholas Daniel (oboe)
This is a very though-provoking collection. Fretwork are, of course, not new to the idea of combining old and new, as their extraordinary 1997 Virgin collection ‘Sit Fast’ as well as an intensive concert activity, have shown. Bearing in mind two recent successful Tavener recordings by the Academy of Ancient Music on Harmonia Mundi, this Tavener-orientated release would seem to be a logical step…The Hidden Face…has a powerful, glowing beauty, consonant with the spiritual search for a return to Paradise…. The early music on the disc is monumentally impressive…Fretwork perform sublimely throughout, and Michael Chance is on top form, his crystalline higher register positively shining in The Hidden Face
Ivan Moody, International Record Review
The opening work, The Hidden Face…is both startling and comforting. Chance, Fretwork’s frequent collaborator, has one of the most perfect techniques in use today. He possesses some of the haunting, otherworldly sound associated with English countertenors, but his full tone, long breath and huge dynamic and vocal ranges are in service to the music. From the wild, ecstatic melismas of Tavener to the restraint and intensity of Purcell, this is highly accomplished singing, and a beautiful recording indeed.
Judith Malafronte, Opera News
Catalogue number: Harmonia Mundi USA 907285