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Dear pretty youth

London, circa 1696
author of text
The Tempest, or Enchanted Island

Shakespeare was the foundation of the Restoration theatrical repertory. His plays were initially revived along with the works of other Jacobean playwrights out of necessity, but a number of them remained popular even after a new Restoration repertory had developed. It is no accident that The Tempest was the most popular of all the plays in the Restoration period, for it is the one that benefits most from spectacular staging and the addition of lavish music. The Restoration version, an adaptation by William Davenant and John Dryden, was put on in 1667 and was revised by Thomas Shadwell in 1674 with many more opportunities for music. This version, with music by John Banister, Matthew Locke, Pelham Humfrey and others, remained in use until the early eighteenth century, when it was replaced by the music long attributed to Henry Purcell, now thought to be by Purcell’s pupil John Weldon. The only piece of genuine Purcell in the score is the playful song ‘Dear pretty youth’, apparently sung in Act IV, Scene iii of the 1674 version by Dorinda to her lover Hippolito, who has supposedly been killed by his rival Ferdinand; both Dorinda and Hippolito were extra characters added in the Restoration adaptation.

from notes by Peter Holman © 2004


Orpheus with his lute


Track 20 on CDA67450 [1'37]

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