Hyperion Records

Hear me, O Lord, the great support, Z133
composer
1680/3
author of text
Psalm 4

Recordings
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 6' (CDA66663)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 6
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66663  Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51   Download currently discounted
'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 4 on CDA66663 [5'47] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 4 on CDS44141/51 CD6 [5'47] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Hear me, O Lord, the great support, Z133
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John Patrick’s skilful paraphrases of psalms provided Purcell with the texts for nine devotional songs in the early 1680s. His setting of Hear me, O Lord, the great support, a version of the nine verses of Psalm 4, is found in at least four sources, but the principal manuscript is one of Purcell’s three large collections, now housed in The British Library. The particular volume in which this piece is found has been rather carelessly rebound and contains vocal and instrumental works, some of which are dated from between June 1680 and February 1683.

‘Hear me, O Lord’ is a testament to the craftsmanship of a composer only just in his twenties. The opening is set for all three voices, with the bass voice often moving away from the continuo line to create a rich, four-part texture that often finds the voices close to one another. The smooth opening is contrasted with the defiant question ‘How long will ye pursue vain hopes?’ posed by each singer in turn. The middle voice is given a solo section, rhythmically pointing the word ‘special’, but is interrupted by the bass’s stern command ‘Sin not’ and the higher tenor’s addendum ‘but fear’. The homophonic writing at ‘Join a pure heart’ is especially effective, and the imploring ‘Lord, cast on us a favourable eye’ beautifully written. The high tenor solo ‘Thy love more cheers my heart’ brings a lighter, more optimistic tone, but is soon replaced by ‘Down will I lie in peace’, which drops slowly down the musical scale and leads to the serene closing conviction that ‘No fears disturb me, whilst I know in God my safety lies’.

from notes by Robert King ©

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