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Blessed be the Lord my strength, Z6

composer
before 1679 ?; Fitzwilliam Museum MS 117
author of text

 
Blessed be the Lord my strength is another very early anthem, certainly written by 1679 and copied by Isaack into a manuscript now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. The opening is scored for solo bass who nobly expresses his faith in God. The two tenors ask ‘Lord, what is man?’ in a delicious series of suspensions before all three soloists join at ‘Man is like a thing of nought’. With the bass singer forging an independent line from the continuo, the harmony of ‘his time passeth away’ is especially rich, and is briefly taken up by the chorus. Purcell sets ‘Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down’ to a typically individual melodic line before setting a more warlike tone at ‘touch the mountains, and they shall smoke’. Lightnings are ‘cast forth’ and arrows are shot to consume the enemy. The closing chorus ‘Send down thine hand from above’ also contains highly original vocal lines as the young composer experiments with contrapuntal choral textures.

from notes by Robert King ©

Blessed be the Lord my strength (Béni soit le Seigneur, ma force) est aussi un des tout premiers anthems de Purcell, certainement composé avant 1679. L'ouverture est écrite pour basse solo, exprimant noblement sa foi en Dieu. Les deux ténors posent la question: ‘Seigneur, qu'est-ce que l'homme?’ dans une charmante série de retards, puis les trois solistes répondent ensemble: ‘L'homme est une chose de rien’. La voix grave chante une mélodie indépendante de la basse continue; l'harmonisation de ‘his time passeth away’ (sa vie s'écoule) est particulièrement riche et le choeur la reprend brièvement. Purcell donne à ‘Bow thy heav'ns, O Lord, and come down’ (Fais pencher le ciel, Oh Seigneur, et descends) une ligne mélodique typiquement personnelle avant de créer une atmosphère plus guerrière avec ‘touch the mountains, and they shall smoke’ (Touche les montagnes et elles fumeront). Des éclairs sont lancés et des flèches tirées pour anéantir l'ennemi. Le choeur final ‘Send down thy hand from above’ (Fais descendre ta main des hauteurs) contient aussi des mélodies vocales particulièrement originales lorsque le compositeur essaie différentes combinaisons contrapuntiques des choeurs.

extrait des notes rédigées par Robert King © 1994
Français: Madeleine Jay

Blessed be the Lord my strength ist wieder ein frühes Anthem, daß Purcell mit Sicherheit vor 1679 geschrieben hatte. In der Einleitung drückt der Baßsolo großmütig seinen Glauben an Gott aus. Die beiden Tenöre fragen ‘Lord, what is man?’ [Herr, was ist doch der Mensch?] mit einer Reihe von reizvollen Vorhalten, bevor alle drei Solisten dann bei ‘Man is like a thing of nought’ [Es gleicht der Mensch dem Hauch der Luft] einstimmen. Der Baßsänger verfolgt einen anderen Weg als das Continuo, und die Harmonie von ‘his time passeth away’ [seine Tage gehn dahin] ist besonders opulent und wird kurz vom Chor aufgegriffen. Purcell verleiht ‘Bow thy heav'ns, O Lord, and come down’ [Neige deine Himmel, O Herr, und fahre hernieder] eine typisch individuelle melodische Linie, und dann vertont er ‘touch the mountains, and they shall smoke’ [die Berge rühre an, und sie rauchen] mit einer eher kriegerischen Melodie. Blitze werden gezuckt und Pfeile geschossen, um den Feind zu vernichten. Der Schlußchor ‘Send down thine hand from above’ [Strecke aus deine Hand von der Höhe] enthält ebenfalls eine sehr originelle Stimmenführung, wobei der junge Komponist mit kontrapunktischen Chorstrukturen experimentiert.

aus dem Begleittext von Robert King © 1994
Deutsch: Meckie Hellary

Recordings

Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 9
CDA66693Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51Download currently discounted
Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music
CDS44141/5111CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Details

Track 8 on CDA66693 [5'05] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 8 on CDS44141/51 CD9 [5'05] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Track-specific metadata for CDS44141/51 disc 9 track 8

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-94-69308
Duration
5'05
Recording date
1 April 1994
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 9 (CDA66693)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: June 1994
    Deletion date: December 2006
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
  2. Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music (CDS44141/51)
    Disc 9 Track 8
    Release date: November 2002
    11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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