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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66663
Recording details: April 1993
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs & Lindsay Pell
Release date: September 1993
Total duration: 2 minutes 54 seconds

'No fewer than five first recordings in this … Fans of Purcell will find this disc, Iike the others in the series, indispensable' (Fanfare, USA)

Thou wakeful shepherd that does Israel keep 'A morning hymn', Z198
1688; Harmonia Sacra
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Purcell’s setting of William Fuller’s ‘morning hymn’ dates from around 1688, the year when most of Purcell’s finest solo devotional songs emerged to be published in Harmonia sacra. Comparison with Fuller’s text (as published in Nahum Tate’s collection Miscellanea sacra: or poems on Divine & Moral Subjects) shows that Purcell made numerous changes before setting the poem: indeed, nearly half of the words in Purcell’s setting are not by Fuller but by the composer-turned-poet. The result is a poignant text that is more contemplative and, in the end, less optimistic than Fuller’s.

The singer wakes, by God’s goodness, to see another day, his first slow actions pictured in gently-moving harmony. His hymn is offered up through the scale, and the key brightens as he offers his ‘best morning sacrifice’, but humility quickly returns with ‘may it be gracious’, harmonically uncertain in its first statement, melodically unsure on its second in only reaching the seventh note of the scale. The ‘bed of sin’ is suitably gravelly, contrasted by the heights of ‘And do I live to see another day’ and the glorious melisma of ‘And sing thy praise’. But after brief optimism, regret quickly returns as the poet remembers ‘the time I have mis-spent in sinful merriment’ (Fuller writes ‘in senseless scenes of merriment’), and the pitch rises as he sings that if he could, he would undo the offences of the past. The innocent are pictured at the lowest end of the voice, the author’s crimes richly harmonised. ‘With joy I’d sing away my breath’ is set to a short burst of lilting arioso, but the breath is, quite literally, stopped to usher in the final desolate question.

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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