Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O Lord, thou art my God

Purcell Closterman Small O Lord, thou art my God is another one of the anthems Purcell composed between 1680 and 1682 the manuscript for which is to be found in Purcell’s own hand in Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam Museum’s MS 88. It starts with a solo bass passage praising God that has a particularly good series of roulades on the word ‘wonderful‘. The two tenors enter at ‘for thou hast been a strength to the poor‘ continuing until the bass breaks in with ‘And he will destroy in this mountain’. The three voices join together for the first time in the anthem to sing  that Godd will ‘swallow up death in victory‘, this leads to the hymn-like, homophonic chorus ‘O Lord, thou art my God …‘. ´The anthem’s final section consists of an animated trio with the bass providing sterling backing to the two tenors followed by a bouncing series of  Alleluias. The anthem closes with a homophic series of Alleluias from the choir. You’ll find it and its text below. Enjoy :-).

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Text: O Lord, thou art my God Z41

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O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things;
thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth,
for thou hast been a strength to the poor,
a strength to the needy in distress, a refuge from the storm,
a shadow from the heat.
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the cov’ring cast over all people,
and the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death in victory,
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all eyes;
and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth:
for the Lord hath spoken it.
O Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him and he will save us. Lo, this is the Lord.
We will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation. Alleluia.

Isaiah 25: 1, 4, 7-9

Performer Information: Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), Michael George (bass), King’s Consort Choir

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