Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 9
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The stately opening, perfect for Gostling’s remarkable voice, begins with a series of elaborate roulades on ‘glad’ which necessitate a vocal range of over two octaves. ‘Clouds and darkness are round about him’ is set as a triple-metre aria, but dramatic semi-recitative returns at ‘There shall go before him a consuming fire’. Enemies are consumed and lightnings flash, but the most extraordinary writing is reserved for ‘the hills melted like wax’; voice and continuo graphically portray the result of the earth’s submission at the presence of the Lord. The chorus too add their praise of Jehova’s might. Over a running bass line the soloist gives a stately command ‘O, ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing which is evil’, the final word distastefully thrown out at the bottom end of the voice. ‘There is sprung up a light’ returns to a lighter, triple metre, but the florid writing quickly returns with a series of increasingly elaborate displays on ‘joyful’ that are finally taken up by the continuo and then developed in the voice at ‘Rejoice in the Lord’. The choir twice interrupt and finally win the day with a series of Alleluias, but not before Gostling had provided yet another remarkable two-octave demonstration of his astonishing vocal range.
from notes by Robert King ©