Hyperion Records

Evening Service in G minor, Z231
author of text
Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55; Nunc dimittis: Luke 2: 29-32

'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 8' (CDA66686)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 8
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'Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music' (CDS44141/51)
Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music
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'The Feast of St Edward at Westminster Abbey' (CDA67586)
The Feast of St Edward at Westminster Abbey
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Canticle 1: Magnificat
Canticle 2: Nunc dimittis

Evening Service in G minor, Z231
For an evening service which has long been a regular stalwart on the service papers of churches and cathedrals, it is worth noting that no contemporary manuscript of Purcell’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G minor survives. The edition most widely used today is one made by Vincent Novello, said to have been based on a manuscript in York Minster which was destroyed in a fire in 1829. This was probably similar to an early eighteenth-century manuscript in York Minster Library which does still exist. A corroborative bass partbook dating from 1711-1718 containing the service is found in Durham Cathedral library.

‘Purcell in G minor’ is a delightful setting which mixes, as does the more weighty B flat Service, four-part choruses and six-part verses, these latter sections always alternating the upper three voices with the lower adult trio. At the end of the Nunc Dimittis Purcell clearly intended the Gloria to the Magnificat to be repeated, as had been the custom in ‘everyday’ settings of the canticles for a hundred years. However, generations of church musicians have sung a splendidly extended (but hopelessly anachronistic) Gloria which the York manuscript states was written by Thomas Roseingrave (1688-1766), more than doubling the length of Purcell’s Nunc Dimittis. We ignore Roseingrave and follow the composer’s intentions by repeating his simple, nineteen-bar Gloria.

from notes by Robert King ©

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67586 track 15
Nunc dimittis
Recording date
15 February 2006
Recording venue
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Jeremy Summerly
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. The Feast of St Edward at Westminster Abbey (CDA67586)
    Disc 1 Track 15
    Release date: September 2006
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