Henry Purcell (1659-1695): In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust Z16

Purcell’s verse anthem In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust (Z16) dates from around 1682 – the middle of the period during which Purcell composed most of his anthems with string accompaniment. Its source is the British Museum’s ‘Royal’ manuscript but it’s probably based on an earlier and rougher autograph now held in…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): How have I stray’d

William Fuller was a royalist clergyman who had been deprived of his livelihood during the Commonwealth and who, following the Restoration was appointed to several Anglican church posts in Ireland he preferred England to Ireland and following a successful court intrigue was appointed Bishop of Lincoln. Purcell set four of his poems all of which…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): The Lord is my light

This anthem probably dates from 1683, two autograph versions of it survive an early rough draft in the Barber Institute (MS 5001), and a fair copy copied out by Purcell himself into the celebrated ‘Royal Manuscript’. It’s a lovely piece of work with a fine opening Symphony, some delightful harmonies, dramatic solo writing, and a…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Save me, O God

This wonderful five line anthem is an early composition – I’m not able to give a precise date but it certainly predates the the Gosling partbooks which places its composition date in the late 1670s –  it was composed in other words when Purcell was still a teenager. The anthem’s opening line shows the inflluence…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Unto thee will I cry

This magnificent anthem is to be found in that most important of Purcell’s autograph collections copied before 1685 – the ‘Royal’ manuscript. I can’t give you an exact composition date but between stylistic factors – such as the writing for strings, and the fact that it’s in the ‘Royal’ manuscript it’s safe to say that…

Sunday Playlist: Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Love’s Goddess Sure was Blind – The Sixteen, The Symphony of Harmony and Invention

‘Love’s Goddess Sure was Blind’ the ode for Queen Mary’s Birthday, 1692 is Purcell’s fourth birthday Ode for Queen Mary II. It’s perhaps the most tender and intimate of the six birthday Odes and is scored strings and paired recorders. It starts with one of Purcell’s finest symphonies which is in two sections and characterised…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Hosanna to the highest

Even by Purcell’s standards Hosanna to the highest is a startlingly original piece of music. It’s characterised by its almost hypnotic use of a four bars long ground bass whose stark simplicity is repeated slowly no less than fifteen times. Purcell uses it to anchor the solo bass the effect in total being one of…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Since God so tender a regard

‘Since God so tender a regard’ (Z 143) is one of Purcell’s settings of the poet John Patrick’s psalm paraphrases. It’s set for three male voices and probably dates from around 1680. It’s slightly unusual in that Purcell uses an eight-note bass line to anchor the anthem and overcame any danger that this might be…

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

This week’s posting in my series dealing with Purcell’s religious music deals with a relatively early work. Purcell composed O God, thou art my God (Z35) sometime during 1680-1682. If its rapid spread throughout the cathedrals, churches, universities and schools of England is anything to judge by it was something of a smash hit. It…