Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 7
CDA66677 Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
The opening section is suitably celebratory, using rich five-part harmony and joyful dotted figurations for the word ‘glad’. The various tribes of the Lord appear one by one as they congregate from their various corners, joining in homophony as they ‘give thanks unto the name of the Lord’. At ‘O pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ the mood alters to one of supplication, the trebles provided with an especially appealing line, before the lighter, triple-time metre returns with the hope that peace and plenteousness will bless the royal palaces.
The Gloria begins exultantly, with the opening word repeated three times: at ‘as it was in the beginning’ Purcell returns, as he did near the outset, to imitation, but he saves his compositional tour de force for ‘world without end’: the imitative point (a four-note descending scale) is first treated conventionally, then in inversion (rising), then in inverted augmentation in the bass line (rising at half speed), and finally, as the trebles and altos contest the theme at the original speed in real and inverted form, the tenors take over the single inverted augmentation, and simultaneously the basses triumphantly halve even this speed to present Purcell’s theme in double augmentation.
from notes by Robert King © 1994