Hyperion Records

Swifter, Isis, swifter flow, Z336
composer
1681; Welcome Song for Charles II
author of text

Recordings
'Purcell: Odes, Vol. 7 – Yorkshire Feast Song' (CDA66587)
Purcell: Odes, Vol. 7 – Yorkshire Feast Song
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66587  Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8   Download currently discounted
'Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs' (CDS44031/8)
Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £38.50 CDS44031/8  8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Movement 1: Symphony – Swifter, Isis, swifter flow
Track 13 on CDA66587 [4'57] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 13 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [4'57] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Land him safely on her shore
Track 14 on CDA66587 [1'09] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 14 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [1'09] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3: Hark, hark! just now my listening ears
Track 15 on CDA66587 [1'56] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 15 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [1'56] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 4: Welcome, dread Sir, to town
Track 16 on CDA66587 [1'15] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 16 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [1'15] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 5: But with as great devotion meet
Track 17 on CDA66587 [2'07] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 17 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [2'07] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 6: The King whose presence like the Spring
Track 18 on CDA66587 [1'27] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 18 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [1'27] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 7: Then since, Sir, from you all our blessings do flow
Track 19 on CDA66587 [2'05] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 19 on CDS44031/8 CD7 [2'05] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Swifter, Isis, swifter flow, Z336
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Purcell’s sole Ode dating from 1681, Swifter, Isis, swifter flow, was only the second he wrote, and seems to have been composed to celebrate the return to London of Charles II from his annual autumn visit to Newmarket. Luttrell records in his diary that on 12 October 1681 ‘at night, for joy, were ringing of bells and bonefires in severall places’ and the anonymous author, clearly familiar with such royal homecomings, makes direct references to these celebrations. Purcell too appears to have been especially inspired by the sound of bells ringing. Indeed, after the fine opening of the Symphony, characterized by falling chromatic harmonies, it is a downward six-note motif which permeates through the second, triple-time section and into the tenor’s opening phrase. (The river Thames flowing through the city of Oxford is called the Isis, reverting back to its former name as it widens towards London, where it ran past the King’s palace.) Throughout this opening, Purcell’s skill at writing for strings is particularly effective, as indeed it is in all the early church music which was already flowing copiously from his pen. The solo bass is accompanied at ‘Land him safely on her shore’ by two recorders, often associated by Purcell with plaintive or amorous themes. Purcell’s splendid string writing introduces the tenor solo ‘Hark, hark! just now my listening ears’, written over an unusually jolly four-bar ground bass. His melodic writing is its usual graceful self, with an especially attractive setting of ‘Oh, how she does my eyes delight’ before the ringing of bells returns, and the movement ends with a tantalizingly short instrumental playout: its eight bars require not only strings but also a solo oboe, which appears nowhere else in the Ode.

Next a trio and chorus alternate phrases with ‘Welcome, dread Sir, to town’ (with London referred to as ‘Augusta’) before the bass has a fine recitativo section ‘But with as great devotion meet’, full of graphic word-painting. The lilting ‘Your Augusta he charms’ is introduced by a solo tenor and taken up by the chorus, with a delightfully unexpected tonal shift at ‘Who tells her the King keeps his court here tonight’ before another short instrumental ritornello rounds off the movement. The duet ‘The King whose presence’ is underpinned by a gently running ground bass and touching suspensions, leading to the final chorus. Here the principal manuscript source is incomplete, with over half of the inner parts missing: for this recording these have been completed by Robert King. The phrase ‘May no harsher sounds e’er invade your blest ears’ is particularly notable, with its intense chromaticism prefiguring some of the finest moments of Dido and Aeneas.

from notes by Robert King © 2010

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44031/8 disc 7 track 18
The King whose presence like the Spring
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-92-58718
Duration
1'27
Recording date
4 December 1991
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Robert Menzies
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: Odes, Vol. 7 – Yorkshire Feast Song (CDA66587)
    Disc 1 Track 18
    Release date: June 1992
    Deletion date: November 2005
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
  2. Purcell: The Complete Odes & Welcome Songs (CDS44031/8)
    Disc 7 Track 18
    Release date: November 1992
    8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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