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Hyperion Records

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The Duet by Gerard Ter Borch (1617-1681)
The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Track(s) taken from CDH55303
Recording details: April 1988
Radley College, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Nicholas Parker
Engineered by Nicholas Parker
Release date: April 1989
Total duration: 2 minutes 25 seconds

'James Bowman must surely be the finest vocal interpreter of Purcell today. His grasp of sentiment, his sense of timing, and his enunciation, are unsurpassed' (Gramophone)

If music be the food of love, Z379a
The Gentleman's Journal, June 1692
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), The King's Consort
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
Purcell made three settings of Colonel Henry Heveningham’s ‘If music be the food of love’. This version, the first, was published in June 1692 in The Gentleman’s Journal, and then, somewhat altered, reproduced the next year in Heptinstall’s Comes Amoris. The third version, published in 1693, was completely different. Heveningham takes the first line of Shakespeare’s famous passage from Twelfth Night and develops the thought in a different way as an incitement to love. This rarely performed first setting (the 1693 ‘second’ version is far more frequently heard) is glorious. The melody throughout is ravishing, with a wonderfully tasteful use of accented passing notes. The repeated rising request ‘Sing on’ echoes the later, ardent (and slightly risqué) list of qualities – ‘Your eyes, your mien [bearing], your tongue’ – that declare ‘That you are music everywhere’. The longest melisma is reserved for the word ‘music’. The second stanza is set to the same music as the first; the repeated words this time describe the ‘pleasures’ that ‘invade both eye and ear’, which are ‘So fierce’ that they ‘wound’ (the sexual connotation being quite obvious) all the senses. The last pair of lines, set to Purcell’s wonderfully panting, rising figuration, contains the usual double entendre of ‘dying’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Other albums featuring this work
'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
Buy by post £4.50 This album is not yet available for download KING2  Super-budget price sampler  
'Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1' (CDA66710)
Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66710  Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3  
'Purcell: The complete secular solo songs' (CDS44161/3)
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £16.50 CDS44161/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  

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