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Hyperion Records

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Saint Cecilia. Seventeenth-century Roman School
Reproduced by permission of The Trustees, The National Gallery, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55327
Recording details: January 1989
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: November 1989
Total duration: 24 minutes 42 seconds

'For those to whom Purcell's unfailing sensitivity and inventiveness in the setting of English texts is a constant miracle, the problem with this series is knowing where to start' (Gramophone)

'Highly desirable additions to any Purcell collection' (The Times)

Who can from joy refrain?, Z342
24 July 1695; Birthday Ode for the Duke of Gloucester
author of text
probable author of text

Overture  [4'27]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Purcell’s last Occasional Ode, Who can from joy refrain?, was written for the birthday, on 24 July 1695, of the six year-old Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, son of Princess (later Queen) Anne. The Queen had eighteen children, all of whom died in infancy except Prince William; his life reached only to the age of eleven. The performance took place in Richmond House, Kew, and was given by a select number of the royal musicians. The Ode contained an important trumpet part, whose warlike tones particularly appealed to the young Prince, and this part was played by the trumpet virtuoso John Shore. The work is far more typical of the majority of Purcell’s two dozen Odes than Hail! bright Cecilia, being written for a relatively small group of performers. Four of the singers are named on the autograph manuscript, and they seem to have taken both the solos and the choruses. The instruments all appear to have been played one to a part. The inclusion of woodwind instruments (other than recorders) was a fairly recent development for Purcell, and in this case his clearly indicated writing for a small oboe band (two oboes, tenor oboe and the recently introduced bassoon) was particularly effective.

‘The Duke of Gloucester’s Birthday Ode’ shows so much that is wonderful in Purcell’s writing: the Overture contains a marvellously rich slow section before the canzona returns, and the solo movements all feature music of the highest order. ‘A Prince of glorious race descended’ in particular demonstrates one of Purcell’s familiar techniques, and one that he used to great effect in so many of his Odes. The movement begins with a ground bass and solo voice, and then, at the mid-point, is transformed into a ravishing four-part string ritornello. The last movement too is a compositional tour de force: Purcell’s extraordinary Chaconne alternates and mixes voices and instruments in a wonderful variety of textures and rhythms.

from notes by Robert King © 2010

Other albums featuring this work
'Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs' (CDS44031/8)
Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44031/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1' (HYP12)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1
This album is not yet available for download HYP12  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
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