Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

If music be the food of love, Z379a

The Gentleman's Journal, June 1692
author of text

Purcell made three settings of Colonel Henry Heveningham’s ‘If music be the food of love’. This version, the first, was published in June 1692 in The Gentleman’s Journal, and then, somewhat altered, reproduced the next year in Heptinstall’s Comes Amoris. The third version, published in 1693, was completely different. Heveningham takes the first line of Shakespeare’s famous passage from Twelfth Night and develops the thought in a different way as an incitement to love. This rarely performed first setting (the 1693 ‘second’ version is far more frequently heard) is glorious. The melody throughout is ravishing, with a wonderfully tasteful use of accented passing notes. The repeated rising request ‘Sing on’ echoes the later, ardent (and slightly risqué) list of qualities – ‘Your eyes, your mien [bearing], your tongue’ – that declare ‘That you are music everywhere’. The longest melisma is reserved for the word ‘music’. The second stanza is set to the same music as the first; the repeated words this time describe the ‘pleasures’ that ‘invade both eye and ear’, which are ‘So fierce’ that they ‘wound’ (the sexual connotation being quite obvious) all the senses. The last pair of lines, set to Purcell’s wonderfully panting, rising figuration, contains the usual double entendre of ‘dying’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003

De 1692 à 1695, Purcell réalisa trois mises en musique d’If music be the food of love de Heveningham. La première est la plus simple stylistiquement, le mélisme principal étant réservé, on ne s’en étonnera pas, à la phrase, «That you are music everywhere».

extrait des notes rédigées par Robert King © 1989
Français: Hypérion


Essential Purcell
KING2Super-budget price sampler — Archive Service
Purcell: Mr Henry Purcell's Most Admirable Composures
CDH55303Archive Service
Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 1
CDA66710Archive Service
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/3Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only


Track 13 on CDH55303 [2'25] Archive Service
Track 10 on CDA66710 [1'55] Archive Service
Track 10 on CDS44161/3 CD1 [1'55] Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only
Track 8 on KING2 [1'55] Super-budget price sampler — Archive Service

Track-specific metadata

Click track numbers above to select
Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...