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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66644
Recording details: January 1996
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs & Lindsay Pell
Release date: March 1993
Total duration: 5 minutes 42 seconds

'Every number brings new riches, and two have never been recorded before. Indeed, 'The Way of God' is a revelation' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)

'This disc is full of the wonderful writing that we expect from Purcell … that is becoming better known and understood through Robert King's performances' (Fanfare, USA)

'Every number brings new riches and two have never been recorded before. This magnificent project shows no signs of flagging' (BBC CD Review)

Early, O Lord, my fainting soul, Z132
composer
circa 1680
author of text
Psalm 63

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Early, O Lord, my fainting soul is another of Purcell’s settings of psalm paraphrases by John Patrick, dating from around 1680. Set for four voices, it is one of the composer’s finest anthems for solo voices, full of delicious harmony and subtle illustrations of the text. Purcell must have had two particularly fine boy trebles in mind.

The characterful opening immediately catches the supplicatory mood of the text, with the bass’s phrase answered by the first treble, both leaning on the word ‘fainting’. The remaining two voices enter, the tenor set high in its register, allowing it to cross with the two intertwining treble parts, and Purcell gives especial emphasis to ‘implore’. The music becomes homophonic for ‘No traveller’ and drops in tessitura for ‘desert lands’: the rising repetitions of ‘can thirst’ are especially poignant. The first treble takes ‘I long to appear as I was wont’, his lilting triple time leading into the bittersweet false relations of ‘For life itself without thy love’: the repeated word ‘relish’ is harmonised with much affection, as are the ‘choicest dainties’ which give ‘both food and pleasure’. Only the solo bass remains ‘when others sleep’, his expressive semi-recitative leading to the most extraordinary section of the anthem. ‘Dangers, whilst thou art near to me’ leads into sensuous vocal suspensions and daring harmony at ‘do threaten me in vain’, with the four voices moving to within only a fifth of each other at ‘when I keep close’, before a more optimistic mood closes this perfect Purcell miniature.

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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