Hyperion Records

O give thanks unto the Lord, Z33
composer
1693
author of text
Psalm 106: 1-2, 4-5, 46

Recordings
'Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 1' (CDA66585)
Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 1
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66585  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
Part 1: O given thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious
Part 2: Who can express the noble acts of the Lord
Track 18 on CDA66585 [1'38] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 18 on CDS44141/51 CD1 [1'38] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Part 3: Remember me, O Lord
Part 4: That I may see the felicity of the chosen
Track 20 on CDA66585 [1'44] Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
Track 20 on CDS44141/51 CD1 [1'44] 11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Part 5: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel

O give thanks unto the Lord, Z33
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O give thanks unto the Lord is one of Purcell’s last pieces of church music, dating from 1693: it shows a marked difference to works written even two years previously. The instrumental contribution is minimal, with the two solo violins given only the briefest of ritornelli at the close of sections, suggesting that the influence of King James – and the Royal Purse – had all but won its way at the Chapel Royal. (Queen Mary, who with William III succeeded James, was a great music-lover, but her main musical interests lay in other areas and music in the Church never really regained its former glory.)

The style of the anthem is Italianate, and at the opening (unusually with no symphony) the trio of soloists enter into vigorous dialogue with the chorus: the role of the choir is more pronounced than in earlier anthems, suggesting that choral standards at the Chapel had not fallen, even if finances had. The opening music is highly sectionalised, alternating not only between chorus and soloists, but between major and minor (the latter sections also marked ‘slow’). The florid duet for alto and bass ‘Who can express’ (which could easily have come from one of the odes) forms a lyrical contrast with the opening, with chains of sequences and suspensions.

The highlight of the anthem is the ravishing four-part verse section ‘Remember me, O Lord’ which, with its chromatically-rising theme, its minor tonality and its emotionally-charged, pleading repetitions of the words ‘Remember me’ and ‘O visit me’ gives a taste of the style which reached its peak two years later in the funeral music for Queen Mary (and provides glorious vocal phrases for one of Purcell’s highly talented boy trebles). The intricate alto solo ‘That I may see’ also has hints of a work to come, in this case the Te Deum and Jubilate (first performed the next year) before the four solo voices, in the busy section ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel’, lead us back into a reprise of the joyful opening antiphony.

from notes by ©

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66585 track 18
Who can express the noble acts of the Lord
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-92-58518
Duration
1'38
Recording date
27 November 1991
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Purcell: The Complete Anthems and Services, Vol. 1 (CDA66585)
    Disc 1 Track 18
    Release date: March 1992
    Deletion date: December 2009
    Archive Service; also available on CDS44141/51
  2. Purcell: The Complete Sacred Music (CDS44141/51)
    Disc 1 Track 18
    Release date: November 2002
    11CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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