Hyperion Records

Hail! bright Cecilia, Z328
composer
1692; Ode for St Cecilia's Day
author of text

Recordings
'Purcell: Hail! bright Cecilia & Who can from joy refrain?' (CDH55327)
Purcell: Hail! bright Cecilia & Who can from joy refrain?
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55327  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)   Download currently discounted
'Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs' (CDS44031/8)
Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs
Buy by post £38.50 CDS44031/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Purcell & Blow: Countertenor duets' (CDH55447)
Purcell & Blow: Countertenor duets
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55447  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'English Lute Songs' (CDH55249)
English Lute Songs
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55249  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
Buy by post £4.50 KING2  Super-budget price sampler  
Details
Movement 01: Symphony
Track 1 on CDH55327 [9'27] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 1 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [9'27] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 02: Hail! bright Cecilia, Hail!
Movement 03: Hark, each Tree its silence breaks
Track 3 on CDH55327 [4'13] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 3 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [4'13] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 04: 'Tis Nature's Voice; thro' all the moving Wood
Track 4 on CDH55327 [4'03] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 4 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [4'03] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 24 on CDH55249 [4'15] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 05: Soul of the World!
Track 5 on CDH55327 [2'41] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [2'41] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 06: Thou tun'st this World below, the Spheres above
Track 6 on CDH55327 [3'15] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 6 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [3'15] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 07: With that sublime Celestial Lay
Track 7 on CDH55327 [3'10] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 7 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [3'10] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 08: Wond'rous Machine!
Track 8 on CDH55327 [2'44] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 8 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [2'44] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 09: The Airy Violin
Track 9 on CDH55327 [1'28] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 9 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [1'28] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 10: In vain the Am'rous Flute and soft Guitar
Movement 11: The Fife and all the Harmony of War
Track 11 on CDH55327 [3'07] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 11 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [3'07] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 12: Let these amongst themselves contest
Track 12 on CDH55327 [3'25] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 12 on CDS44031/8 CD2 [3'25] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 13 (extract): With rapture of delight dost see – Hail! bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!
Movement 13: Hail! bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!

Hail! bright Cecilia, Z328
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1683 Purcell had been the first composer commissioned to write an Ode to celebrate St Cecilia’s Day by the newly formed ‘Musical Society’. On that occasion he produced Welcome to all the pleasures, notable not only for its great freshness but also for its wonderfully original string ritornelli. Nine years later the Society was flourishing and the ‘Gentleman Lovers of Musick’ once again turned to Purcell to ‘propagate the advancement of that divine Science’. As Motteux wrote, ‘A splendid entertainment is provided, and before it is always a performance of Music by the best voices and hands in town’. With Hail! bright Cecilia Purcell excelled himself.

Brady’s poem was derived directly from Dryden’s Ode of 1687, which was the first to call for obbligato instruments, and also the first to suggest that Cecilia invented, rather than simply played, the organ. Most of Purcell’s Odes were written for the relatively small forces available at Court, but on this occasion he was given the opportunity to write for a large group of performers. Purcell chose to mix large, contrapuntal choruses with a sequence of airs for soloists and obbligato instruments. The canzona of the Symphony contains a fugue on two subjects, and is thematically linked to the fugato theme which closes the work in ingenious double augmentation. At the centre of the Ode comes the powerful chorus ‘Soul of the World!’ closing in ‘perfect Harmony’. Between this and the large-scale choruses that frame either end of the Ode come an inspired selection of airs, based around an extraordinary collection of compositional devices. ‘Hark, each Tree’ is a sarabande on a ground, whilst ‘Thou tun’st this World’ is set as a minuet; ‘In vain the Am’rous Flute’ is set to a passacaglia bass, and ‘Wond’rous Machine!’ splendidly depicts an inexorably chugging machine with its ground bass and wailing oboes. Perhaps the most remarkable solo movement is ‘’Tis Nature’s Voice’ where the recitative is so heavily ornamented as to make it melismatic arioso. (The score writes ‘Mr Pate’ against this number, but some commentators have misread Motteux’s report of this movement, ‘which was sung with incredible graces by Mr. Henry Purcell himself’, to suggest that Purcell was the singer, rather than the writer, of those ‘incredible graces’.) With a text full of references to music and musical instruments, the work requires a wide variety of vocal soloists and obbligato instruments. Everywhere we find writing of great originality, word-setting of the highest calibre, and music of startling individuality.

from notes by Robert King © 2010

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA66349 track 8
Wond'rous Machine!
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-89-34908
Duration
2'44
Recording date
20 January 1989
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: Hail! bright Cecilia & Who can from joy refrain? (CDA66349)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: November 1989
    Deletion date: July 2007
    Superseded by CDH55327
  2. Purcell: Hail! bright Cecilia & Who can from joy refrain? (CDH55327)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: November 2011
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
  3. Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs (CDS44031/8)
    Disc 2 Track 8
    Release date: November 1992
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
   English   Français   Deutsch