Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 10
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The triple-time opening is strong, full of confident dotted rhythms: the ‘round world’ is illustrated not only with a roulade but also a time change and wonderfully rich harmony for ‘ever since the world began’. The exultant ‘thou art from everlasting’ is taken up, briefly, by the full choir. The opening of the second section contains powerful music as the floods rise and the waves of the sea rage, yet ‘the Lord who dwells on high is mightier’. After such strong sentiments the main body of the anthem closes with a lilting, contrasting triple-time section ‘Thy testimonies, O Lord, are very sure’, and ends in awe of God’s holiness.
The choral Gloria that concludes the anthem is also written in confident vein, and contains a short phrase for solo treble. Cathedral trebles’ tradition has always been to give such short solos to a ‘debut’ solo treble and, in ending a remarkable anthem, we follow that tradition.
from notes by Robert King ©