Hyperion Records

If music be the food of love, Z379a
composer
The Gentleman's Journal, June 1692
author of text

Recordings
'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
Buy by post £4.50 KING2  Super-budget price sampler  
'Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures' (CDH55303)
Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55303  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Download currently discounted
'Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1' (CDA66710)
Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66710  Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3  
'Purcell: The complete secular solo songs' (CDS44161/3)
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
Buy by post £16.50 CDS44161/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Track 13 on CDH55303 [2'25] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on CDA66710 [1'55] Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3
Track 10 on CDS44161/3 CD1 [1'55] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 8 on KING2 [1'55] Super-budget price sampler

If music be the food of love, Z379a
EnglishFrançais
Purcell made three settings of Colonel Henry Heveningham’s ‘If music be the food of love’. This version, the first, was published in June 1692 in The Gentleman’s Journal, and then, somewhat altered, reproduced the next year in Heptinstall’s Comes Amoris. The third version, published in 1693, was completely different. Heveningham takes the first line of Shakespeare’s famous passage from Twelfth Night and develops the thought in a different way as an incitement to love. This rarely performed first setting (the 1693 ‘second’ version is far more frequently heard) is glorious. The melody throughout is ravishing, with a wonderfully tasteful use of accented passing notes. The repeated rising request ‘Sing on’ echoes the later, ardent (and slightly risqué) list of qualities – ‘Your eyes, your mien [bearing], your tongue’ – that declare ‘That you are music everywhere’. The longest melisma is reserved for the word ‘music’. The second stanza is set to the same music as the first; the repeated words this time describe the ‘pleasures’ that ‘invade both eye and ear’, which are ‘So fierce’ that they ‘wound’ (the sexual connotation being quite obvious) all the senses. The last pair of lines, set to Purcell’s wonderfully panting, rising figuration, contains the usual double entendre of ‘dying’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDH55303 track 13
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-89-28813
Duration
2'25
Recording date
10 April 1988
Recording venue
Radley College, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Nicholas Parker
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures (CDA66288)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: April 1989
    Deletion date: September 2006
    Superseded by CDH55303
  2. Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures (CDH55303)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: January 2009
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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