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Corinna is divinely fair, Z365

composer
December 1692
author of text

 
Corinna is divinely fair appears in the Gresham Manuscript, the book of songs and extracts from his theatre works and odes which Purcell compiled between 1692 and 1695. The volume is basically chronological, and this song appears just before extracts from the 1692 ode Hail, bright Cecilia; it was also printed in the December 1692 issue of The Gentleman’s Journal where the text was said to be ‘by a Person of Honour’. The second stanza ‘Like Nature’ may have been a later addition, for it appears in the Gresham Manuscript in a different ink and with new key and time signatures. This was probably not the version which John Young used when compiling the second edition of Orpheus Britannicus (first book, 1706) as he does not print the second stanza.

Purcell is wonderfully responsive to the text, expressively illustrating the elegance of Corinna, whose shape is ‘easy’ and ‘soft her air’. But this paragon of beauty has, to Purcell’s author, wasted her charms and ‘sullied’ her looks, for she ‘threw’ her own heart away. In the second stanza, lilting in its triple metre, the poet likens her wasting her ‘treasure’ to exotic Eastern delicacies whose subtle flavours are lost before they can reach our shores – an imaginative way of an author truculantly expressing his jealousy that someone else has proved to be the lucky one!

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Recordings

Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 3
CDA66730Last few CD copies remaining
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Details

Track 3 on CDA66730 [1'46] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 3 on CDS44161/3 CD3 [1'46] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDA66730 track 3

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-94-73003
Duration
1'46
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. 3 (CDA66730)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: September 1994
    Last few CD copies remaining
  2. Purcell: The complete secular solo songs (CDS44161/3)
    Disc 3 Track 3
    Release date: November 2003
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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