Hyperion Records

Not all my torments can your pity move, Z400
Not all my torments is contained in the Gresham Manuscript, the autograph songbook written out by Purcell between 1692 and 1695. This song comes between movements from the birthday ode of April 1693, Celebrate this festival, and Sawney is a bonny lad, dated 25 January 1694, so may be presumed to have been written around the middle of 1693. Perhaps Purcell’s most florid song, representing the full extent of the ornate Italian influence, it seems strange that he did not include it in any published collection, and neither did it appear in Orpheus Britannicus. Robert Spencer has written that ‘this wonderful song always seems disappointingly short’, musing on whether Purcell planned an aria to follow, or even wrote one which got lost. That said, the four lines of verse do in themselves make a pithy and rather poignant entity which Purcell sets in an astonishingly colourful style, swinging from the impassioned opening, through the manically increasing scorn with which the poet’s love is greeted to the desolate sorrows that he will take to the grave. The rising optimism of the repeated ‘I love’ is countered by the final sting in the tail, ‘I despair’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66288 track 4
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 4
    Release date: April 1989
    Deletion date: September 2006
    Superseded by CDH55303
  2. Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures (CDH55303)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: January 2009
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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