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Fly swift, ye hours, Z369

The Banquet of Musick VI, 1692
author of text

Fly swift, ye hours was published in early 1692 in the sixth book of The Banquet of Musick, suggesting that it may have been written during the second half of 1691. The song is also contained in a number of other contemporary sources, including a manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library into which it appears to have been copied between September 1690 and July 1692. Purcell sets the text as an Italianate mini-cantata with a splendidly busy opening, scales scurrying in voice and continuo. The ardent ‘Bring back my Belvidera’ totally changes mood and tempo and leads into a lilting triple-time arioso section, ‘Swifter than Time’. The extraordinary recitative ‘Soft peace is banish’d’ recalls parts of Dido and Aeneas in its despairing chromaticism and languid melismas. The poet is trapped in his love: in the closing triple-time aria he is resigned to ‘court my ruin’ and, with a delicious, bittersweet melisma, to bless the ‘pleasing pain’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003


Purcell: Music for a while & other songs
CDA66070Archive Service
Purcell: Secular solo songs, Vol. 2
CDA66720Archive Service
Purcell: The complete secular solo songs
CDS44161/3Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only


Track 5 on CDA66070 [5'52] Archive Service
Track 11 on CDA66720 [5'17] Archive Service
Track 11 on CDS44161/3 CD2 [5'17] Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only

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