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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66585
Recording details: November 1991
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: March 1992
Total duration: 9 minutes 53 seconds

'If later volumes are as deftly and feelingly accomplished as this one, then King's grand Purcellian tour ought to be a landmark in English music discography' (The Independent)

'Purcell has seldom been this lucky' (CDReview)

O give thanks unto the Lord, Z33
composer
1693
author of text
Psalm 106: 1-2, 4-5, 46

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
O give thanks unto the Lord is one of Purcell’s last pieces of church music, dating from 1693: it shows a marked difference to works written even two years previously. The instrumental contribution is minimal, with the two solo violins given only the briefest of ritornelli at the close of sections, suggesting that the influence of King James – and the Royal Purse – had all but won its way at the Chapel Royal. (Queen Mary, who with William III succeeded James, was a great music-lover, but her main musical interests lay in other areas and music in the Church never really regained its former glory.)

The style of the anthem is Italianate, and at the opening (unusually with no symphony) the trio of soloists enter into vigorous dialogue with the chorus: the role of the choir is more pronounced than in earlier anthems, suggesting that choral standards at the Chapel had not fallen, even if finances had. The opening music is highly sectionalised, alternating not only between chorus and soloists, but between major and minor (the latter sections also marked ‘slow’). The florid duet for alto and bass ‘Who can express’ (which could easily have come from one of the odes) forms a lyrical contrast with the opening, with chains of sequences and suspensions.

The highlight of the anthem is the ravishing four-part verse section ‘Remember me, O Lord’ which, with its chromatically-rising theme, its minor tonality and its emotionally-charged, pleading repetitions of the words ‘Remember me’ and ‘O visit me’ gives a taste of the style which reached its peak two years later in the funeral music for Queen Mary (and provides glorious vocal phrases for one of Purcell’s highly talented boy trebles). The intricate alto solo ‘That I may see’ also has hints of a work to come, in this case the Te Deum and Jubilate (first performed the next year) before the four solo voices, in the busy section ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel’, lead us back into a reprise of the joyful opening antiphony.

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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