'Why do the heathen so furiously rage together?' is another one of those anthems dating from the three year period between 1682 and 1685 during which Purcell composed some of his most accomplished string accompaniments. It starts with a superb string symphony which is interrupted by the bass soloist demanding to know 'Why do the heathen so furiously rage together ?'. The tenors join in at the second line recounting how the kings and rulers conspire together to free themselves from the rule of God and that of his chosen people. But God laughs these princes to scorn Purcell closes this first section to a close with some gentle triple-time.
The second section has features some wonderful bass solo writing which Purcell's wrote for his friend and colleague the celebrated bass John Gostling in fact even when the bass is joined by the tenors he predominates. As he recounts how disobedience to God's purposes will be met by chastisement. The anthem returns to homophony at the end with first the soloists and then the choir revealing that all who put the trust in God will be blessed. The anthem ends with an 'Alleluia'. Enjoy :-)
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