Hyperion Records

Come ye sons of Art, away, Z323
composer
30 April 1694; Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary
author of text
probable author of text

Recordings
'Purcell: Odes, Vol. 8 – Come ye sons of Art' (CDA66598)
Purcell: Odes, Vol. 8 – Come ye sons of Art
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66598  Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8  
'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)  
'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
Buy by post £4.50 KING2  Super-budget price sampler  
Details
Movement 1: Symphony
Track 1 on CDA66598 [3'36] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 1 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [3'36] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 2: Come ye sons of Art, away
Track 2 on CDA66598 [1'59] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 2 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [1'59] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 3 (extract): Sound the trumpet, 'til around
Movement 3: Sound the trumpet, 'til around
Movement 4: Strike the viol, touch the lute
Track 4 on CDA66598 [5'12] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 4 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [5'12] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 5: The day that such a blessing gave
Track 5 on CDA66598 [3'00] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 5 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [3'00] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 6: Bid the Virtues, bid the Graces
Track 6 on CDA66598 [3'22] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 6 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [3'22] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 7: These are the sacred charms that shield
Track 7 on CDA66598 [1'46] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 7 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [1'46] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Movement 8: See Nature, rejoicing, has shown us the way
Track 8 on CDA66598 [2'53] Archive Service; also available on CDS44031/8
Track 8 on CDS44031/8 CD8 [2'53] 8CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Come ye sons of Art, away, Z323
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For his 1694 offering to the Queen, Come ye sons of Art, away, Purcell was on sparkling form, and produced an Ode markedly different to the majority of the twenty-two works which had preceded it. The forces utilized were greater than normal, with an orchestra replacing the more usual single strings, and there was a clearly defined role for the chorus. Recent successes on the stage had led to this more expansive style of composition, and the inspired text (probably by Nahum Tate), full of references to music and musical instruments, was one which gave Purcell’s fertile imagination plenty of source material.

The overture (re-used the following year in The Indian Queen) begins in stately fashion, its opening ten bars full of glorious harmony, and the lively canzona which follows is full of rhythmic ingenuity amongst its three contrasting motifs. But it is in the wistful adagio section that Purcell is at his finest: the sighing motifs and poignant harmonies are full of pathos, and the use of sustained notes, which cut through the middle and bass of the texture, is quite extraordinary. Rather than the expected repeat of the canzona, we are immediately led into the opening chorus, and the first of several repetitions of the main theme in various harmonizations and arrangements—a technique taken straight from the theatre. With the tune taken first by a countertenor, Purcell cleverly solves the problem of re-scoring for the chorus (where the tune would have either been too low or far too high for the sopranos) by providing them with a descant and retaining the tune in the altos, doubled by the trumpet and oboe. In the famous duet ‘Sound the trumpet’ Purcell resisted the temptation to use the actual named instruments, choosing instead an insistently lively two-bar modulating ground bass over which two countertenors demonstrate their virtuosity and giving the royal continuo players splendidly characterful lines. There would have been wry smiles in the orchestra at ‘You make the list’ning shores resound’, for two of the instrumentalists sitting in the band would have been the famous trumpeters Matthias and William Shore.

The centre-piece of the Ode is an ecstatic evocation of music, ‘Strike the viol’. With its mentions of viol, lute, harp and flute (recorder) Purcell was, as he always was by references to music, at his most inspired. The technique he uses was one that he had perfected in numerous previous Odes, combining a ground bass with a line for solo countertenor and then turning the vocal section into an instrumental ritornello. Here he uses a modulating two-bar ground bass, with two recorders adding their gentle accompaniment, over which the soloist weaves his entrancing melody. The best is still to come, for Purcell develops an orchestral ritornello that is one of his finest, alternating and combining the pair of recorders with the strings to create a ravishing movement.

‘The day that such a blessing gave’ is first given to a solo bass, with Purcell’s harmonic skill solving all the problems attendant with putting the melody in the bass line. At the mid-point he transforms the solo into a full chorus, still retaining the melody at the bottom of the texture and once again giving the trebles of the choir a descant to sing. ‘Bid the Virtues’ is quite unique, even amongst the many remarkable movements contained in the Odes. A solo soprano and oboe intertwine in glorious harmonic and melodic writing, at moments florid, at others most touching, all showing Purcell’s ability to set words with extraordinary eloquence. Next comes a rumbustious aria for solo bass, ‘These are the sacred charms’, set over a jaunty ground bass. The final movement ‘See Nature, rejoicing’ is first sung as a duet by the soprano and bass, with contrast between repetitions of the rondeau given by two minor episodes, before the whole choir and orchestra take up Purcell’s strain.

The only complete source material for Come ye sons of Art is a copy by Robert Pindar, dating from 1765, and contains several dubious pieces of scoring which this performance corrects. Purcell scored his overture for one trumpet and one oboe, though in subsequent movements he uses a pair of each. Some modern editors have added an editorial part for a second trumpet (often ignoring the fact that Purcell’s trumpets could play very few notes in their lower registers) and doubled oboes on these lines. Purcell’s intentions appear to have been different, and in the overture we return to his scoring which gave Shore’s remarkable trumpet playing the top line, and the oboe, in its richest register, the second part. Pindar’s manuscript also contains a timpani part in the final chorus, wildly ornamented and out of keeping with other timpani parts of the era. For the opening chorus there is little possibility that the instruments could have been used, for the music moves too far away from the tonic and dominant. But in the last chorus ‘See Nature, rejoicing’ the music is of a different character, tonally more stable, and it is hard not to imagine a timpani part. After all the repetitions of the music in the duet that precedes the chorus, a timpanist could easily have improvised his line.

from notes by Robert King © 2010

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66253 track 1
Movement 3: Sound the trumpet, 'til around
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-88-25301
Duration
2'26
Recording date
15 May 1987
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell & Blow: Countertenor duets (CDA66253)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: March 1988
    Deletion date: December 2010
    Superseded by CDH55447
  2. Purcell & Blow: Countertenor duets (CDH55447)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: April 2014
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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