Posts Tagged ‘ Purcell ’

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): My heart is inditing of a good matter

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September 27, 2013

Mary of  Modena 320x320Purcell's  'My heart is inditing of a good matter' was specially composed for the coronation of King James II on April 23rd 1685 and was 'performed by the whole consort of voices and instruments' present in the Abbey once Mary of  Modena had been crowned. As you might expect for such an occasion it's a very large-scale composition that uses four-part strings, eight-part choir and eight soloists. I like the opening Symphony with its writing for high-pitched strings and bass violins and I like how the triple section dances along as it leads us to the first chorus section. Purcell introduces this slowly the voices come in gradually building to the full eight parts. He uses antiphonal effects between the upper and lower voices at 'I speak of the things'  to build up chains of suspensions before ending the section with a brief ritornello. The next section ('At his right hand …') has the pairs of voices performing dance-like dotted figurations at 'all glorious …' before changing to rich eight-part harmonies to evoke the magnificence of the queen's apparel 'Her clothing is of wrought gold'.

Part 2: She shall be brought unto the king

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Full of wrath, his threatening breath

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September 20, 2013

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) The Royalist clergyman Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)  served as a chaplain to Charles I and was captured and imprisoned during the Civil War. After he was released from prison he retired to Wales where he wrote poetry, books of sermons, a prayer manual and an argument for toleration. The Puritan state found all of this uncongenial and imprisoned him no less than three times. Charles II rewarded his loyalty by making him Bishop of Down and Connor. His text recounting the conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus is quite dramatic. Purcell's treatment of Fuller's vivid language and more than somewhat exaggerated sentiments is to add his own sometimes quite extraordinary musical  twists and turns to depict his subject matter.

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695) Now that the sun hath veiled his light ‘An Evening Hymn’ – YouTube

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September 13, 2013

Purcell Closterman Small Purcell's setting of Bishop William Fuller's 'Evening Hymn' is utterly different to the type of music that he normally wrote for the church. This isn't a gloriously impressive anthem written to impress the congregation in the Chapel Royal. Instead it's a quiet, almost private, meditation, sung by a solo treble. Purcell based it on a five-bar ground and adjusted the vocal entries to disguise the repetitions in the bass so the treble had to be a very skilled singer. The hymn ends with a 'Halleluia' that is very different indeed from how Purcell normally set the word.

markfromireland

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Why do the heathen so furiously rage together?

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September 6, 2013

John Gostling (1644–1733) - captioned

'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 :-)

markfromireland

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Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Awake, awake, put on thy strength

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July 19, 2013

purcell stamp belgium 150x280 Purcell composed Awake, awake, put on thy strength between 1680 and 1682. It's a  cheerful piece with a splendid opening Symphony and lots of the triple-time dance like music that Purcell's royal master found so pleasing. It takes its text from Isaiah 51: 9-11 and is one of the seventeen anthems copied out in Purcell's own hand contained in the British Library's 'Royal' manuscript. For the present performance because the final chorus has never been found (the manuscript contains a blank page where it should be so presumably Purcell never got around to copying it out) Robert King reconstructed it using by continuing the ground bass and making use other material from Purcell.

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