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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67586
Recording details: February 2006
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2006
Total duration: 3 minutes 52 seconds

'Anglican music can be heard at its best from Westminster Abbey … a varied programme stylishly performed' (Choir & Organ)

'Early notice is served of how well the Abbey's choristers are currently singing … an admirably varied programme, with excellent Hyperion recording' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Exhilarating performances' (The Daily Telegraph)

'As with the previous releases in this series, the choir (and organist Robert Quinney, who here ends the disc in spectacular fashion with Jeanne Demessieux's Te Deum), under the fluent direction of James O'Donnell, is above reproach' (International Record Review)

'After eight years James O'Donnell has brought a new sound to the choir of Westminster Abbey. The boys show the greater improvement, a firmer, more solid tone, but the men also now sound like the best adult choirs … the acoustics of the Gothic building are superb, and the organ makes magnificent sounds' (Fanfare, USA)

'The range of musical styles is as varied as could be … the standard of singing and recording is fully equal to such demanding music, but it is equally satisfying to hear psalms and familiar canticles, Stanford in C (Morning) and Purcell in G minor (Evening) performed with such loving care. An excellent disc, highly recommended' (Cathedral Music)

O God, thou art my God, Z35
composer
1680/2
author of text
Psalm 63: 1-5, 8

Other recordings available for download
Nicholas Witcomb (treble), Jerome Finnis (treble), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), Michael George (bass), New College Choir Oxford, The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The full anthem O God, thou art my God is a relatively early work dating from 1680-82, whose subsequent popularity is indicated by the considerable number of manuscripts, spread throughout Britain, in which it appears. Even a hymn tune was based on its final pages. The style is uncomplicated, suggesting perhaps that Purcell’s choir was not at its strongest when he was writing the anthem, and also showing the young composer’s familiarity with the works of Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons, whose music he would have copied from an early age.

The opening demonstrates those influences, with the first homophonic phrase leading to a brief imitative section ‘early will I seek thee’. The verse section for lower voices ‘My soul thirsteth for thee’ shows a greater degree of melodic and harmonic inventiveness and leads back to another short chorus section, based on another two imitative points. The upper voices are provided with a touching solo trio, the word ‘loving’ treated affectionately and, with the full choir, counterpoint returns, climbing through the musical scale for ‘and lift up thy hands in thy name’. At ‘therefore under the shadow of thy wings’ Purcell turns to antiphony between decani and cantoris, the two sides of the choir. With the ‘Halleluia’ churchgoers will find themselves on familiar ground, for later hymn arrangers, always keen to spot a fine tune, did so with this, naming Purcell’s melody ‘Westminster Abbey’.

from notes by Robert King ©


Other albums featuring this work
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 5' (CDA66656)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 5
MP3 £6.00FLAC £6.00ALAC £6.00Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66656  Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51   Download currently discounted
'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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