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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Recording details: March 1994
Orford Church, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: September 1994
Total duration: 2 minutes 26 seconds
'Those who need all of Purcell's songs at their fingertips should invest in Hyperion's three-disk survey of secular songs, with outstanding performances by Barbara Bonney, Rogers Covey-Crump and James Bowman' (The New York Times)
Cupid, the slyest rogue alive is an anonymous translation of the nineteenth Idyllium of Theocritus; Purcell’s setting was published in 1685 in Playford’s second volume of The Theatre of Music. The composer turns the poem into a mini-cantata which (taken at its most literal) tells of the occasion on which Cupid got a taste of his own medicine when stung by a bee. Behind the immediate text lies a mass of subtleties and double entendres, and in the music as many neat illustrations. Cupid’s expectations of finding honey are dashed down the scale when instead he is ‘prick’d’. His reaction to the sting is wonderfully captured in Purcell’s jerky rhythms. The little boy rushes to his mother (the goddess Venus) whose moral reply to his ‘see, mother, see How it has gor’d and wounded me’ is less than sympathetic.