Hyperion Records

In the black dismal dungeon of despair, Z190
composer
1688
composer
1960; realization of piano part
author of text

Recordings
'Britten: Complete Purcell Realizations' (CDD22058)
Britten: Complete Purcell Realizations
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 CDD22058  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)  
'Britten: The Five Canticles' (CDH55244)
Britten: The Five Canticles
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55244  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Details
Track 7 on CDH55244 [4'32] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on CDD22058 CD2 [4'22] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)

In the black dismal dungeon of despair, Z190
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In the black dismal dungeon of despair and Evening hymn (‘Now that the sun hath veiled his light’) both appear in Book 1 of Harmonia Sacra: or, Divine Hymns and Dialogues, first published in 1688. The words of both are by Dr William Fuller (‘late Lord Bishop of Lincoln’) and are devotional pieces, the first being a plea for mercy and redemption, and the second, ostensibly a prayer on going to bed, has allegorical implications of the feeling of resignation in the face of death, so that the ‘evening’ referred to could well be the twilight of life itself. Purcell sets these subtle words to an expressive melody over a five-bar ground bass, with slowly-changing harmonies, sensitively realized by Britten in his piano interpretation.

from notes by Michael Short © 1992

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