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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: 3 minutes 13 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)

Awake, ye dead, Z182
1693; Harmonia Sacra 2
author of text
Hymn upon the last day 'The last trumpet'

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The bass duet Awake ye dead, a ‘Hymn upon the Last Day’ by Nahum Tate, dates from 1693 and was published in volume 2 of Harmonia Sacra. Tate’s own subtitle for his text was ‘The Last Trumpet’, and the splendid sentiments and words clearly inspired Purcell: his choice of two solo basses (unique in all the anthems) gives the cataclysmic text added emphasis and character.

The opening shakes the dead from their slumbers, the repeated cries of ‘Awake’ mixed with rapid-fire trumpet calls; the only respite comes from the contrasting minor harmony of ‘to sleep no more’. The continuo instruments violently launch us into ‘Hark! from aloft’, their thunderous repeated semiquavers competing with the vocal parts, imitating a ‘noise so loud it deafs the ocean’s roar’: the voices are alternately ‘alarm’d’ and ‘amaz’d’ as the ‘clatt’ring orbs’ tumble from the top of the singers’ ranges. The ‘virtuous soul alone’ enters in gently swinging triple-time, the word ‘unmov’d’ doing exactly that in the music, to be replaced by violent semiquavers as the very foundations of the earth shake. The virtuous soul ‘ascends, and mocks the universal wreck’, whose destruction has been so vividly characterised in just three minutes of chamber music.

from notes by ©

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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