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Purcell: Harmonia Sacra

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The voracious scouring of defunct catalogs by Dutch discounter Brilliant occasionally yields gems, and this is one. Originally recorded in 1994 and released on Deutsche Grammophon, the album collects sacred vocal pieces that qualify as rarities by Henry Purcell, who was mostly known for secular music. Apparently even in Purcell's own time they were intended for small circles of connoisseurs, and many remained in manuscript until recent times. Both in musical style and in literary content they are a bit old-fashioned, combining that quality with a daring mode of expression. The texts are by poets from earlier in the 17th century, several of them from the so-called ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
The voracious scouring of defunct catalogs by Dutch discounter Brilliant occasionally yields gems, and this is one. Originally recorded in 1994 and released on Deutsche Grammophon, the album collects sacred vocal pieces that qualify as rarities by Henry Purcell, who was mostly known for secular music. Apparently even in Purcell's own time they were intended for small circles of connoisseurs, and many remained in manuscript until recent times. Both in musical style and in literary content they are a bit old-fashioned, combining that quality with a daring mode of expression. The texts are by poets from earlier in the 17th century, several of them from the so-called Metaphysical school; they include such conceits as "In the black, dismal dungeon of despair, Z190" track 3, "Plung'd in the confines of despair, Z142" track 8, and "O, I'm sick of life, Z140," none of which is as downbeat as the titles would lead you to believe; the focus is on the poetic virtuosity rather than the sentiment. Purcell matches this with free vocal lines that hark back to the Italian sacred concertos of the mid-century; his settings match the poetry in subtle ways that reveal new things on multiple hearings. They are for one to four voices plus continuo, and the Gabrieli Consort and Players under Paul McCreesh act as a single unit with extreme sensitivity to the text. The program is effectively broken up by a few ingenious keyboard pieces. An excellent find for Purcell lovers. Booklet notes are in English only.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/13/2009
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • UPC: 842977038996
  • Catalog Number: 93899
  • Sales rank: 164,367

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Lord, what is man?, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 192 - Henry Purcell & Charles Daniels (4:53)
  2. 2 O solitude, my sweetest choice, song, Z. 406 - Henry Purcell & Paula Chateauneuf (4:48)
  3. 3 In the black, dismal dungeon of despair, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 190 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (4:10)
  4. 4 Lord, I can suffer Thy rebukes, sacred song for 2 sopranos, alto, bass, chorus & continuo, Z. 136 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (4:16)
  5. 5 Voluntary for organ in G major, Z. 720 - Henry Purcell & Timothy Roberts (2:45)
  6. 6 In guilty night, sacred song, Z. 134 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (8:14)
  7. 7 Voluntary (verse) for organ in C major, Z. 717 - Henry Purcell & Timothy Roberts (1:16)
  8. 8 Plung'd in the confines of despair, sacred song for tenor, bass, male chorus & continuo, Z. 142 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (4:20)
  9. 9 Awake, ye dead, sacred song, for 2 basses & continuo, Z. 182 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (3:03)
  10. 10 The Earth trembled, and heav'n closed, sacred song for bass (or soprano) & continuo, Z. 197 - Henry Purcell & Tessa Bonner (1:51)
  11. 11 My op'ning eyes are purg'd, song, ZD72 (spurious) - Henry Purcell & Paul McCreesh (4:47)
  12. 12 With sick and famish'd eyes, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 200 - Henry Purcell & Paula Chateauneuf (4:25)
  13. 13 Ground for harpsichord in C Minor, D 221 - William Croft & Timothy Roberts (3:56)
  14. 14 O, I'm sick of life, sacred song for alto, tenor, chorus & continuo, Z. 140 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (4:21)
  15. 15 Close thine eyes and sleep secure, sacred song for soprano, bass & continuo, Z. 184 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (3:29)
  16. 16 Funeral Sentences (for the funeral of Queen Mary), Z. 27: Man that is born of a woman Z 27; In the midst Z 1 - Henry Purcell & Gabrieli Consort & Players (9:11)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul McCreesh Primary Artist
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