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If music be the food of love, Z379a

composer
The Gentleman's Journal, June 1692
author of text

 
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

De 1692 à 1695, Purcell réalisa trois mises en musique d’If music be the food of love de Heveningham. La première est la plus simple stylistiquement, le mélisme principal étant réservé, on ne s’en étonnera pas, à la phrase, «That you are music everywhere».

extrait des notes rédigées par Robert King © 1989
Français: Hypérion

Recordings

Essential Purcell
This album is not yet available for downloadKING2Super-budget price sampler
Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures
CDH55303
Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1
CDA66710Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Details

Track 13 on CDH55303 [2'25]
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

Track-specific metadata for KING2 track 8

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-94-71010
Duration
1'55
Recording date
29 March 1994
Recording venue
Orford Church, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1 (CDA66710)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: March 1994
    Deletion date: February 2010
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44161/3
  2. Purcell: The complete secular solo songs (CDS44161/3)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: November 2003
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
  3. Essential Purcell (KING2)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: September 1994
    Super-budget price sampler
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