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In vain we dissemble, Z385

The Theatre of Music I, 1685
author of text

This song first appeared in Henry Playford’s first book of The Theatre of Music in 1685. In the two verses the poet comments on the hopelessness of man’s trying to conceal his natural impulse to fall in love: whatever our attempts ‘To stifle our flame and check our desire’, there is no ‘concealing of fire’. Purcell’s melody is, as ever, beautifully crafted, combining tuneful elegance with melodic inventiveness, and the bass line is also well worth attention, rising inexorably for the first eight bars and falling even further during the next phrase. Those two elements are neatly combined in contrary motion between the voice and continuo at ‘When frowning the courtship we seem to despise’.

from notes by Robert King © 2003


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


Track 15 on CDA66720 [2'14] Archive Service
Track 15 on CDS44161/3 CD2 [2'14] Boxed set (at a special price) — Download only

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