The opening choral section passes the imitative point between all eight voices in both real and inverted form, combining a slow-moving harmonic pulse with a wealth of internal contrapuntal detail. The melancholy verse ‘Thou feedest them with the bread of tears’ is scored for two trios of soloists, first three lower voices and then, providing added pathos, for two trebles and a tenor. The full choir return at ‘Thou hast made us a very strife’, once again showing Purcell’s skill at handling large-scale contrapuntal textures at ‘And our enemies laugh us to scorn’. For the five-part verse ‘Turn us again, O God of hosts’ Purcell is on fertile ground, calling to God for help in wonderfully rich, imploring harmonies, full of the most appealing dissonances. The final chorus, back in the major key, confidently returns to eight-part counterpoint to close a remarkable work.
from notes by Robert King ©
O Lord God of hosts Z37 [4'55]
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|Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)|
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