The deliciously poised setting of Close thine eyes was one of twelve of Purcell’s devotional songs first published in 1688 in Harmonia Sacra. The text, sometimes misattributed to King Charles, was by Francis Quarles, a Cambridge-educated poet who had made his reputation during the 1620s with a series of biblical paraphrases. As befits its subject matter, Purcell’s setting, for soprano and bass, is restrained and restful, and contains some delicious harmonic turns. There is one short passage with more motion, ‘The music and the mirth of kings’, which is quickly stilled, being ‘out of tune’, and this glorious miniature ends serenely.
from notes by Robert King ©