The Symphony is splendidly grand, the dotted rhythms of the opening underpinned by Purcell’s glorious harmonies and wonderfully-crafted inner parts. The second, triple-time section dances in the joyful, lilting rhythms that so pleased King Charles II and leads straight into the first vocal music: a solo bass, remembering past miracles, loudly calls on God to wake and ‘put on thy strength’. At ‘Therefore the redeemed of the Lord’ a trio of soloists enters in more gentle vein, with especially appealing harmony colouring ‘and sorrow and mourning shall flee away’, and are followed by a reprise of the dancing triple section of the Symphony. This time Purcell continues and extends the section with the three soloists: his Alleluias dance joyously over a swinging, four-bar ground bass, wonderfully compelling in their inexorable momentum, building towards a string ritornello (containing one of Purcell’s expressive sections, sometimes marked ‘drag’ but here the equally direct ‘slow’) and a joyous final chorus.
from notes by Robert King ©
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