Hyperion Records

Awake, ye dead, Z182
composer
1693; Harmonia Sacra 2
author of text
Hymn upon the last day 'The last trumpet'

Recordings
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 4' (CDA66644)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 4
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66644  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 5 on CDA66644 [3'13] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 5 on CDS44141/51 CD4 [3'13] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Awake, ye dead, Z182
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The bass duet Awake ye dead, a ‘Hymn upon the Last Day’ by Nahum Tate, dates from 1693 and was published in volume 2 of Harmonia Sacra. Tate’s own subtitle for his text was ‘The Last Trumpet’, and the splendid sentiments and words clearly inspired Purcell: his choice of two solo basses (unique in all the anthems) gives the cataclysmic text added emphasis and character.

The opening shakes the dead from their slumbers, the repeated cries of ‘Awake’ mixed with rapid-fire trumpet calls; the only respite comes from the contrasting minor harmony of ‘to sleep no more’. The continuo instruments violently launch us into ‘Hark! from aloft’, their thunderous repeated semiquavers competing with the vocal parts, imitating a ‘noise so loud it deafs the ocean’s roar’: the voices are alternately ‘alarm’d’ and ‘amaz’d’ as the ‘clatt’ring orbs’ tumble from the top of the singers’ ranges. The ‘virtuous soul alone’ enters in gently swinging triple-time, the word ‘unmov’d’ doing exactly that in the music, to be replaced by violent semiquavers as the very foundations of the earth shake. The virtuous soul ‘ascends, and mocks the universal wreck’, whose destruction has been so vividly characterised in just three minutes of chamber music.

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