Hyperion Records

Save me, O God, Z51
composer
before November 1681; Fitzwilliam Museum
author of text
Psalm 54: 1-4, 6-7

Recordings
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 7' (CDA66677)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 7
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66677  Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51  
'Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music' (CDS44141/51)
Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music
Buy by post £40.00 CDS44141/51  11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Track 6 on CDA66677 [3'44] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 6 on CDS44141/51 CD7 [3'44] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Save me, O God, Z51
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The anthem Save me, O God is an early composition which was included in a set of partbooks copied by Stephen Bing for York Minster. The set later passed on to John Gostling, after whom it was named: Bing’s death in November 1681 provides a convenient ‘terminus ante quem’ for Purcell’s anthem. The principal source is however Purcell’s own autograph manuscript, now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

The five-part opening shows the influence of earlier composers in its use of imitation, but combines this with Purcell’s unique harmonic vocabulary, although his working out of the contrapuntal ideas is rather brief, suggesting that the anthem may be a very early work. At ‘Hear my prayer, O God’ Purcell moves to a solo trio and briefly introduces the same melodic motif that begins his great eight-part setting of the same text, probably composed within a few years and also contained (but later in the volume) in the Fitzwilliam manuscript. ‘For strangers are risen up’ moves up through the three voices but the chorus counter with their confident affirmation that ‘God is my helper’. ‘An offering of a free heart’ is charmingly set for three upper solo voices, and the anthem closes positively with another five-part chorus and the neatly worked out five-part piece of counterpoint ‘and mine eyes have seen’, proudly marked by the young composer in his manuscript as being ‘5 in one’.

from notes by Robert King ©

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