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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66710
Recording details: March 1994
Orford Church, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: March 1994
Total duration: 1 minutes 55 seconds

'An auspicious launch to a project that will probably have no real competiton for years to come; I recommend it heartily' (Fanfare, USA)

'An exceptional recording with consummate singing and playing which is worthy of pride of place in any vocal collection' (CDReview)

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

Other recordings available for download
James Bowman (countertenor), The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
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: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures' (CDH55303)
Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55303  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'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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