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Hyperion Records

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Choristers from the time of James II's coronation in 1685.
Copyright © Dean and Chapter of Westminster
Track(s) taken from CDA67792
Recording details: June 2009
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by David Trendell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2010
Total duration: 2 minutes 26 seconds

'A highly accomplished and nicely varied survey of Restoration music' (Gramophone)

'The Abbey choir, under James O'Donnell, conveys the thrill of Purcell's music and the whole disc is marked by crucial attention to the articulation of words and the careful balancing of choral sonorities' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Clear and uncluttered sound, the antiphonal effects nicely caught in a faultless Hyperion recording' (International Record Review)

'Hear my prayer, O Lord lasts a mere two and a half minutes but has a massive, almost disturbing power. Other works exude a cheerful grace' (Financial Times)

Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z15
composer
1680/2; Fitwilliam Museum MS 88
author of text
Psalm 102: 1

Other recordings available for download
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, Christopher Royall (countertenor), John Scott (conductor)
King's Consort Choir, The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
King's Consort Choir, The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Hear my prayer, O Lord is part of a larger piece that Purcell seemingly did not complete. The anthem is the last item in the autograph manuscript held in Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, after which come a number of blank pages. Purcell’s barline at the end of the manuscript (going through the staves and not through the intervening spaces) is the type which usually indicates another section is to follow: indeed he usually marks the end of a piece with an elaborate flourish. But how fortunate we are to have this section of the anthem, for it is a masterpiece!

Dating from 1680-82, the work is in eight parts, and sets the first verse of Psalm 102. With a despairing text and large vocal forces at his disposal, Purcell’s imagination was raised to its highest level, yet the melodic material is, on its own, quite simple. The first phrase, ‘Hear my prayer, O Lord’, uses just two melancholy notes a minor third apart, but it is the turning chromaticism of ‘crying’ that gives the scope for such plangency. The harmonic language, always (after the opening phrases) in at least six parts, is exceptional, even for Purcell, but the most extraordinary feature of the anthem is the build-up which Purcell orchestrates from the outset – here is an inexorable vocal crescendo lasting over three minutes, culminating on a monumental discord on the last repetition of ‘come’. With such a powerful piece, we felt that to edit together more than one ‘take’ would detract from the extraordinary atmosphere that this anthem generates: the version performed here is that comparative rarity on modern recordings, a whole ‘take’, without an edit from start to finish – a genuine performance of one of the truly great anthems of the English church music repertory.

from notes by Robert King ©


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: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3' (CDA66623)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66623  Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51  
'Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music' (CDS44141/51)
Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £40.00 CDS44141/51  11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Remembrance' (CDA67398)
Remembrance
'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2' (HYP20)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2
This album is not yet available for download HYP20  2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
'The King's Consort Baroque Collection' (KING4)
The King's Consort Baroque Collection
MP3 £3.40FLAC £3.40ALAC £3.40 KING4  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted   Download currently discounted
'The King's Consort Collection' (KING7)
The King's Consort Collection
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 KING7  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  

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