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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: 4 minutes 41 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)

Plung'd in the confines of despair, Z142
composer
circa 1680
author of text
Psalm 130

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Plung’d in the confines of despair is one of several settings which Purcell made of psalm paraphrases by the poet John Patrick around 1680. Two autograph sources survive, one in Birmingham’s Barber Institute, and another, probably a more definitive version, in the British Museum. The subject matter of most of Patrick’s psalms is doleful, and his version of Psalm 130 is no exception.

Purcell’s opening is masterful, playing falling chromaticism against the rising tension of the vocal entries and climaxing with ‘to God I cried’. ‘O, lend to me a gracious ear’ is more gentle in its harmony, and each voice in turn falls down the musical scale at ‘Not sunk so low’. The bass majestically questions ‘who would be able to abide thy censure?’ and melismatically illustrates the turning of men before a trio ends the first section. The first tenor begins ‘My soul less brooks thy seeming stay’ alone, but is joined, with a wonderful shift into the minor, by his two colleagues at ‘The frailty of our state he knows.’ ‘To humble souls he gracious is’ takes each voice to the lowest extreme of its range, slowly building through eight statements of the point to the final sentence ‘And pardons what they have done amiss’. Here Purcell gives the bass voice a line independent of the continuo part, creating harmony which is especially rich.

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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