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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66693
Recording details: April 1994
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: June 1994
Total duration: 10 minutes 41 seconds

The Lord is my Light, Z55
composer
1683/4
author of text
Psalm 27: 1, 3, 5-7

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Lord is my light dates probably from 1683/84, the middle of the period in which Purcell wrote many of his verse anthems with string accompaniment. Two autographs survive: an early, rough copy now in Birmingham’s Barber Institute (MS 5001), and a fair copy, also in Purcell’s hand, in the famous ‘Royal Manuscript’, the volume into which Purcell copied many of his early sacred works.

The two-section Symphony is a fine one, the slow opening once again demonstrating the composer’s deliciously wistful writing in the most ravishing harmony: the more lively triple-time second section dances in overt joy, but not far beneath the surface, as with so much of Purcell’s string writing in the anthems, lies the melancholy that makes his music so unique. The soloists’ first entries overlap the end of the Symphony, graceful both in the French rhythms that had influenced the writings of many leading British composers, but also in the daring melodic lines that are so very English. Short instrumental ritornelli preface and close the more dramatic bass solo ‘Though an host of men were laid against me’ before the trio of voices return at ‘For in the time of trouble’. Here Purcell’s vocal writing is at its most daring, with chromaticism falling and rising to colour ‘trouble’ and the immovable ‘rock of stone’ illustrated with long tied notes: as a conclusion the strings are instructed to play ‘the Triple of the Symph. again’. ‘And now shall he lift up mine head’ is scored for a solo tenor; the word ‘round’ is treated to three elegant melismas before the strings close the section with another fine instrumental ritornello. The trio return for ‘Therefore will I offer in his dwelling’, joyful in their ‘great gladness’ before embarking on an extended series of Alleluias. Once again their varied material is taken up by the strings before the full choir, in more legato vein, closes a fine anthem.

from notes by Robert King ©

Other albums featuring this work
'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)  
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