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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66412
Recording details: January 1990
Rickmansworth Masonic School Chapel, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: August 1990
Total duration: 23 minutes 34 seconds

'An important milestone towards a new appreciation of Purcell' (Gramophone)

'The performances are matched by the outstanding engineering' (Fanfare, USA)

Sound the trumpet, beat the drum, Z335
composer
1687; Welcome Song for James II
author of text

Symphony  [3'11]
Chaconne  [3'34]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Sound the trumpet, beat the drum was the last of the three Odes that Purcell wrote between 1685 and 1687 to celebrate the birthday of James II. Queen Mary had been in Bath from 16 August to 6 October, but on 11 October she and King James returned from Windsor to Whitehall, ready for the King’s birthday celebrations on 14 October. The diarist Narcissus Luttrell recorded in his diary that the celebrations appeared to have been on a smaller scale than in previous years, there being ‘no bonefires, being so particularly commanded’. The Ode is contained in a surprisingly large number of sources: one later version (the Kent manuscript), produced after Purcell’s death, used a totally new text and adds trumpets and timpani to the orchestra. However, Purcell’s 1687 version is scored only for strings and, with the names of many of the singers recorded in the manuscripts, we can see that the first performance was a fairly small-scale affair. After a splendid two-movement overture, Mr Abell, the alto, sets the Ode off in suitably military style, punctuated by interjections from both the bass and ritornelli from the strings. By 1687 Purcell was beginning to cut down on the instrumental ritornelli that concluded so many movements in the early Odes, tending instead to move straight into a contrasting vocal section, but the alto duet ‘Let Caesar and Urania live’, set over a two-bar ground bass, is transformed into glorious four-part string writing. The bass, Mr Bowman, must have been an extraordinary singer, for in the solo ‘While Caesar like the morning star’ Purcell utilizes a range from high E down to bottom D. Equally extraordinary is the Chaconne which Purcell includes at the mid-point of the Ode: this is as fine an example of the form as he ever wrote, using a multitude of compositional devices and including a marvellous minor section. Purcell must have been especially pleased with this movement for, four years later, he re-used it in King Arthur.

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)  
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