‘Hear me, O Lord’ is a testament to the craftsmanship of a composer only just in his twenties. The opening is set for all three voices, with the bass voice often moving away from the continuo line to create a rich, four-part texture that often finds the voices close to one another. The smooth opening is contrasted with the defiant question ‘How long will ye pursue vain hopes?’ posed by each singer in turn. The middle voice is given a solo section, rhythmically pointing the word ‘special’, but is interrupted by the bass’s stern command ‘Sin not’ and the higher tenor’s addendum ‘but fear’. The homophonic writing at ‘Join a pure heart’ is especially effective, and the imploring ‘Lord, cast on us a favourable eye’ beautifully written. The high tenor solo ‘Thy love more cheers my heart’ brings a lighter, more optimistic tone, but is soon replaced by ‘Down will I lie in peace’, which drops slowly down the musical scale and leads to the serene closing conviction that ‘No fears disturb me, whilst I know in God my safety lies’.
from notes by Robert King ©
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