Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 6
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The singer wakes, by God’s goodness, to see another day, his first slow actions pictured in gently-moving harmony. His hymn is offered up through the scale, and the key brightens as he offers his ‘best morning sacrifice’, but humility quickly returns with ‘may it be gracious’, harmonically uncertain in its first statement, melodically unsure on its second in only reaching the seventh note of the scale. The ‘bed of sin’ is suitably gravelly, contrasted by the heights of ‘And do I live to see another day’ and the glorious melisma of ‘And sing thy praise’. But after brief optimism, regret quickly returns as the poet remembers ‘the time I have mis-spent in sinful merriment’ (Fuller writes ‘in senseless scenes of merriment’), and the pitch rises as he sings that if he could, he would undo the offences of the past. The innocent are pictured at the lowest end of the voice, the author’s crimes richly harmonised. ‘With joy I’d sing away my breath’ is set to a short burst of lilting arioso, but the breath is, quite literally, stopped to usher in the final desolate question.
from notes by Robert King ©