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No, to what purpose should I speak?, Z468

composer
1683 ?
author of text

 
Like She loves and she confesses, Abraham Cowley’s youthful melodrama was also published in 1656 as part of The Mistress in his Poems where it was subtitled ‘The Concealment’. Purcell’s setting probably dates from 1683 and is also found in the substantial autograph manuscript now held in the British Library (20.h.8) which contains fair copies of church anthems, odes, songs and duets written between 1681 and 1690. Purcell sets Cowley’s lengthy poem as a mini-cantata. The mournful opening is written as semi-recitative, colourfully outlining the pining love – the ‘wretched heart’ that will ‘swell till you break’ – that the poet will take to his grave, rather than let the object of his passion know the heartbreak that she is causing him. In a triple-metre arioso the poet determines that the world will see this course of action as far nobler than revealing his love and risking the lady’s fury. The third section is highly dramatic, full of rich harmony, including a climactic dissonance on ‘death’; so broken-hearted will the author be that his heart will be sighed away (with a wonderfully drooping interval) with his last breath. For the triple-time chorus the soloist is joined by a bass voice; at the poet’s funeral the world and ‘she herself, the mighty she’ will realize that ‘’Twas only Love destroy’d the gentle youth’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Recordings

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

Details

Track 6 on CDA66730 [4'21] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 6 on CDS44161/3 CD3 [4'21] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDA66730 track 6

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-94-73006
Duration
4'21
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 6
    Release date: September 1994
    Last few CD copies remaining
  2. Purcell: The complete secular solo songs (CDS44161/3)
    Disc 3 Track 6
    Release date: November 2003
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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