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Track(s) taken from CDA66710

I loved fair Celia, Z381

1693 or earlier
author of text

Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), The King's Consort
Recording details: March 1994
Orford Church, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: March 1994
Total duration: 1 minutes 50 seconds


'An auspicious launch to a project that will probably have no real competiton for years to come; I recommend it heartily' (Fanfare, USA)

'An exceptional recording with consummate singing and playing which is worthy of pride of place in any vocal collection' (CDReview)
I loved fair Celia was printed in Comes Amoris (1694), in Book 2 of Orpheus Britannicus (1702) and its three subsequent reprints. Motteux re-used the melody for We now, my Thyrsis never find which appeared in a setting by Courteville in The Gentleman’s Journal of June 1693. From this we can assume that Purcell wrote the melody in 1693 or before. The associations with Celia are English, rather than classical, and in particular recall Ben Jonson’s three songs To Celia, which were much imitated and include the famous ‘Drink to me only with thine eyes’. Elsewhere, Jonson points out that Celia is an anagram of Alice. Purcell’s setting is delightfully engaging in its charm, and we find that our poet had his eye on Celia for many years ‘Before she showed her art’ (a double entendre which leaves very little open to question, as well as sporting a delicious melisma). He had seen her mature: ‘Her beauty first, her humour next’ and liked each improving stage more than the last. When she finally reciprocated by showing ‘friendship’ to him, her ‘charms’ – set with another lovely melisma – ‘were so entire’ that ‘I could none else admire’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

Other albums featuring this work

Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/33CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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