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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66686
Recording details: January 1994
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: April 1994
Total duration: 6 minutes 23 seconds

Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, Z9
composer
1688 ?
author of text
Psalm 112: 1-5, 9

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
According to the Gostling Manuscript, Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord was written to celebrate Founders Day at Charterhouse School, probably in 1688. This event usually took place on December 12th, with the service followed by a feast. In 1688 the preacher was John Patrick, the poet for at least nine of Purcell’s devotional songs. Scholars have suggested that Purcell may have composed the anthem earlier than 1688 with two solo parts, adapting it and adding a third soloist for the Charterhouse performance. We know that two of the soloists in 1688 were Mr Barincloe and the famous bass Mr Bowman. The anthem’s subsequent popularity ensured that it appeared in some twenty manuscripts which are spread all over Britain.

The opening is lyrical, with the word ‘great’ treated to a series of expansive melismas. The key and mood change at ‘His seed shall be mighty upon earth’: the harmony of ‘the generation of the faithful’ is especially rich as the bass singer takes an independent line from the continuo, creating a four-part texture. Triple metre returns at ‘Riches and plenteousness’ and Purcell sets ‘endureth for ever’ with a deliciously dropping motif which is anchored first over a pedal, and then an inverted pedal. A more Italianate section is introduced at ‘Unto the godly’ with a marvellous roulade for the high tenor on ‘ariseth’: ‘a good man’ is passed, almost conversationally, from voice to voice before the introduction of a more lively section, ‘his name shall be exalted with honour’. The solo alleluias begin simply but are gradually expanded and extended by Purcell. At least three different versions of the closing chorus are found in the various manuscript sources: we have used the version contained in the Durham and Liverpool manuscripts.

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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