Hyperion Records

Thy way, O God, is holy, Z60
composer
1687
author of text
Psalm 77: 13-18

Recordings
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 7' (CDA66677)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 7
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy 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
MP3 £35.00FLAC £35.00ALAC £35.00Buy by post £40.00 CDS44141/51  11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
Details
Track 9 on CDA66677 [5'13] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 9 on CDS44141/51 CD7 [5'13] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Thy way, O God, is holy, Z60
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Thy way, O God, is holy appears in an unusually large number of sets of cathedral part-books, including sets in York (the Gostling part-books), Worcester, St Paul’s, Ely, Durham, Gloucester, Lichfield, Lincoln and Windsor. Apart from a short concluding Alleluia, the anthem is set for two solo voices, a high tenor (or, rather less dramatically, a countertenor) and a bass. Scholars have ascribed the anthem to 1687, the same year as Sing unto God and Behold, I bring you glad tidings.

Purcell’s lyrical opening duet is treated as a vocal ritornello, for it returns twice more during the course of the anthem, separating sections of marvellously dramatic music. The first of these is ‘Thou art the God that doth wonders’: the opening two bars are theatrically repeated, transposed a third upwards, before the tenor joyfully celebrates, at the top of his vocal register, the God who has ‘mightily delivered thy people’. The bass rumbles away to represent the troubled depths of the sea, and the clouds pour out their contents: scales tumble from both singers as the air thunders and arrows fly. Calm is restored as the opening triple time returns and a short continuo ritornello leads into another vocal storm as ‘the voice of thy thunder was heard round about’. Lightning flashes in the voices and the earth moves and shakes. Once again the two singers joyfully assert that ‘Thou art the God that doth wonders’ before peace is restored with another repetition of ‘Thy way, O God, is holy’. The choir closes the anthem with a series of joyful alleluias.

from notes by Robert King ©

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