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Track(s) taken from CDA66710

On the brow of Richmond Hill, Z405

The Banquet of Musick VI, 1692
author of text

James Bowman (countertenor), 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 34 seconds

Other recordings available for download

James Bowman (countertenor), The King's Consort


'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)
‘On the brow of Richmond Hill’ was Tom D’Urfey’s attractive Ode to Cynthia, walking on Richmond Hill, published in Purcell’s setting in the sixth and last book of The Banquet of Musick (1692). D’Urfey, said to have been a clerk’s apprentice in early life, became one of the most popular playwrights of the later seventeenth century, also writing poetry, odes and lyrics of all kinds. He was best in farcical comedies but in later works also explored romantic subjects. His Ode to Cynthia proved hugely popular and Purcell’s setting of it was frequently reprinted right up to 1721.

For those unfamiliar with the geography of greater London, Richmond Hill sits some ten miles to the southwest of the city. In the seventeenth century it would have taken half a day on horseback to get there, but the view from the top of the hill, looking down into the lush green valley of the river Thames, around which were sited a variety of fine stately homes belonging to the good and the great, was one of the finest vistas of the capital and its environs. D’Urfey poetically describes the scene, and Purcell’s setting is affectionately melodic (including a circular melisma to illustrate both ‘round’ and ‘crown’d’). ‘Lovely Cynthia’ passes by and, as the melody reaches one note higher than previously, catches the poet’s eye ‘With brighter glories’. The view pales into insignificance, for ‘all [ravishingly set by Purcell] are poor’ when compared to Cynthia.

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)
The James Bowman Collection
KING3Super-budget price sampler — Archive Service
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