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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66598
Recording details: January 1992
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Antony Howell & Robert Menzies
Release date: November 1992
Total duration: 14 minutes 2 seconds

'An important enterprise … is completed and crowned … A joy to listen to' (Spectator)

Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty King, Z340
composer
1680; Welcome Song for Charles II
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty King, Purcell’s first Ode, dates from 1680 and was written for the return of King Charles II to London, which the diarist Luttrell records as having taken place on 9 September. The Ode does not appear in the Buckingham Palace manuscript, into which Purcell collected many of his early Odes, but two other sources survive, both in the British Museum, demonstrating a remarkable piece of work from a composer just twenty-one years old. The chorus writing is spritely and full of life, the solo vocal writing sensitive and imaginative and the string writing especially fine. Purcell was already the author of a considerable bulk of church music at the Chapel Royal.

The Symphony is confident, richly harmonized in its first section, and showing the influence of Pelham Humfrey and Purcell’s teacher John Blow in the dotted rhythms of the imitative second section. Purcell’s mastery of technical devices is also apparent for, rather than simply repeating the second section of the overture as an instrumental section, he does this whilst superimposing the opening chorus over it, adding a new bass line and giving the original bass as an obbligato to the cello. After such a compositional tour de force comes a touching duet for alto and bass ‘Ah! Mighty Sir’, full of startling harmonic language, and capped by a charmingly scored string ritornello. The reference to ‘Augusta’ is again an alternative for ‘London’. The chorus ‘But your blest presence now’ dances along, and leads into a glorious string ritornello—the first of dozens with which Purcell graced his Royal Odes over the next fifteen years. In ‘Your influous approach’ Purcell echoes the tenor soloist with the full ensemble and is inspired, as always, by the mention of the word ‘harmony’: he leaves the real pictorialization for ‘Apollo with his sacred lyre’ to the continuo players’ imagination as a coda to the movement. ‘When the Summer, in his glory’ is delightfully scored for two sopranos, and the following chorus ‘All loyalty and honour be’ an example of how a simple, homophonic setting can be as effective as the most intricate of choruses. The tenor solo ‘Music the food of love’ is a jewel, with its simple melody repeated and harmonized by the full chorus before the continuo modulates the music up a fourth and the strings are given a ritornello of great charm and beauty. The final chorus of Purcell’s first Ode is deliberately kept simple.

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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