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Track(s) taken from CDH55303

If music be the food of love, Z379a

composer
The Gentleman's Journal, June 1692
author of text

James Bowman (countertenor), The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
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

Cover artwork: The Duet by Gerard Ter Borch (1617-1681)
The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), The King's Consort

Reviews

'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)
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

De 1692 à 1695, Purcell réalisa trois mises en musique d’If music be the food of love de Heveningham. La première est la plus simple stylistiquement, le mélisme principal étant réservé, on ne s’en étonnera pas, à la phrase, «That you are music everywhere».

extrait des notes rédigées par Robert King © 1989
Français: Hypérion

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