Hyperion Records

Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z15
1680/2; Fitwilliam Museum MS 88
author of text
Psalm 102: 1

'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
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'O praise the Lord' (CDA67792)
O praise the Lord
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'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3' (CDA66623)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3
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'Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music' (CDS44141/51)
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'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2' (HYP20)
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'The King's Consort Baroque Collection' (KING4)
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'The King's Consort Collection' (KING7)
The King's Consort Collection
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Track 6 on CDA66623 [2'18] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 6 on CDS44141/51 CD3 [2'18] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 4 on KING2 [2'18] Super-budget price sampler
Track 19 on KING7 [2'18] Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
Track 18 on HYP20 CD2 [2'18] 2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
Track 9 on KING4 [2'18] Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z15
Hear my prayer, O Lord is part of a larger piece that Purcell seemingly did not complete. The anthem is the last item in the autograph manuscript held in Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, after which come a number of blank pages. Purcell’s barline at the end of the manuscript (going through the staves and not through the intervening spaces) is the type which usually indicates another section is to follow: indeed he usually marks the end of a piece with an elaborate flourish. But how fortunate we are to have this section of the anthem, for it is a masterpiece!

Dating from 1680-82, the work is in eight parts, and sets the first verse of Psalm 102. With a despairing text and large vocal forces at his disposal, Purcell’s imagination was raised to its highest level, yet the melodic material is, on its own, quite simple. The first phrase, ‘Hear my prayer, O Lord’, uses just two melancholy notes a minor third apart, but it is the turning chromaticism of ‘crying’ that gives the scope for such plangency. The harmonic language, always (after the opening phrases) in at least six parts, is exceptional, even for Purcell, but the most extraordinary feature of the anthem is the build-up which Purcell orchestrates from the outset – here is an inexorable vocal crescendo lasting over three minutes, culminating on a monumental discord on the last repetition of ‘come’. With such a powerful piece, we felt that to edit together more than one ‘take’ would detract from the extraordinary atmosphere that this anthem generates: the version performed here is that comparative rarity on modern recordings, a whole ‘take’, without an edit from start to finish – a genuine performance of one of the truly great anthems of the English church music repertory.

from notes by Robert King ©

Track-specific metadata
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Details for KING7 track 19
Recording date
28 August 1992
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs & Lindsay Pell
Hyperion usage
  1. The King's Consort Collection (KING7)
    Disc 1 Track 19
    Release date: March 2005
    Deletion date: February 2013
    Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
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