Hyperion Records

Hosanna to the highest, Z187
composer
author of text

Recordings
'Essential Purcell' (KING2)
Essential Purcell
Buy by post £4.50 This album is not yet available for download KING2  Super-budget price sampler  
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3' (CDA66623)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3
MP3 £6.00FLAC £6.00ALAC £6.00Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66623  Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51   Download currently discounted
'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 10 on CDA66623 [5'24] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 10 on CDS44141/51 CD3 [5'24] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Track 10 on KING2 [5'24] Super-budget price sampler

Hosanna to the highest, Z187
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Only one score of Hosanna to the highest survives, and this is a manuscript dating from after Purcell’s lifetime, but here, amongst all the church music, is one of the finest examples of a Purcellian ground bass. This one is four bars long, dropping first for four long notes, then returning to its tonic and rising for five: its simplicity and stark modality is hypnotic in the fifteen, slow-moving repetitions. Over this harmonic anchor a solo bass voice weaves its melodic spell, with Purcell treating the text, not in an extrovert manner, but with controlled, quiet ecstasy: from the outset we see that here is not an earthly marriage, but one far greater, conceived in heaven. The author of the text is unknown, but these are marvellously graphic words and sentiments which clearly stimulated the composer, for Purcell’s vocal writing is glorious, the tessitura of the solo bass creating sounds of great nobility. Everywhere we find marvellous word-painting and expressive harmony: the rising phrase ‘Let heav’n above’ contrasts with ‘Let earth triumph below’, the tongues are silenced with a long note, and ‘you rocks and stones’ are suitably gravely commanded ‘to break your flinty silence if men cease to speak’. The ‘sacred art’ is treated to rich harmony, and the word ‘plead’ is subjected to especially plaintive treatment.

After such rich sounds, the entry of a higher, second voice (at ‘Be ravish’d, earth’) is breathtaking: earth and heaven are linked in their ‘contract’, the two voices closely imitating each other’s phrases as the piece climaxes at ‘heav’n never showed so sweet a bridegroom, Nor earth so fair a bride’. Throughout his music Purcell rarely fails to beguile the listener with ravishing sounds, but here he brings to a close an example of his genius at its most startlingly original.

from notes by Robert King ©

Track-specific metadata
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Details for KING2 track 10
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-93-62310
Duration
5'24
Recording date
28 August 1992
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs & Lindsay Pell
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 3 (CDA66623)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: January 1993
    Deletion date: November 2007
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
  2. Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music (CDS44141/51)
    Disc 3 Track 10
    Release date: November 2002
    11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
  3. Essential Purcell (KING2)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: September 1994
    Super-budget price sampler
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