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Purcell: Hail, Bright Cecilia / Paul McCreesh/Gabrieli Players

Audio Samples

>Purcell, Henry : Fairy Queen, Z 629
>Purcell, Henry : My beloved spake, Z 28
>Purcell, Henry : O sing unto the Lord, anthem for soprano, alto, tenor, 2 basses, chorus, 2 violins, viola & organ, Z

Album Summary

>Purcell, Henry : Fairy Queen, Z 629
>Purcell, Henry : My beloved spake, Z 28
>Purcell, Henry : O sing unto the Lord, anthem for soprano, alto, tenor, 2 basses, chorus, 2 violins, viola & organ, Z
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

In 1692 the 'musical society', a group of musicians and amateur including the publisher John Playford, initiated a specifically British annual celebration to celebrate St Cecilia's Day on 22 November. The festivities were to include singers from Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral and the Chapel Royal, along with musicians from the King's band and from the London theatres. Purcell's composed two Odes for these occasions - the first 'Welcome All the Pleasures' was completed in 1683, and the second, 'Hail Bright Cecilia', in 1692. It is laid out for a large group of instrumentalists and singers, and runs to 40 minutes. The opulent style of writing, and the sheer inventiveness and freedom of Purcell's inspiration laid the foundations for Handel's oratorios 25 years later. It is the grandest and most brilliant vocal work to be composed in England prior to the advent of Handel.

"This performance is exceptionally receptive to the brilliance of the score. The trumpets are bold and brassy (only occasionally overblown) and the ensemble as a whole moves effortlessly from discretion and intimacy to the imposing timbral homogeneity of McCreesh's most extrovert Venetian exploits. His tempos - especially in the grand opening instrumental sinfonia - are irrepressible and invigorating." -Gramophone

"Quite a few renditions are in circulation of this famous ode for St. Cecilia's Day. This is one of Purcell's most ambitious choral works. For a solid reading of this work from an early music perspective, you probably won't do better...the singins, particularly the soloists...[are] the strong point of this release. Considering the price and availability of some of the other prominent recordings, this is certainly the way to go."-American Record Guide

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Brinkburn Priory, Weldon, Northumberland, England (07/1994).



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Works Details

>Purcell, Henry : Fairy Queen, Z 629
  • Conductor: Paul McCreesh
  • Ensemble: Gabrieli Players
  • Running Time: 47 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1692

>Purcell, Henry : My beloved spake, Z 28
  • Conductor: Paul McCreesh
  • Ensemble: Gabrieli Players
  • Running Time: 9 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1677

>Purcell, Henry : O sing unto the Lord, anthem for soprano, alto, tenor, 2 basses, chorus, 2 violins, viola & organ, Z
  • Performers: Julian Podger (Tenor); Christopher Purves (Bass); Susan Jones (Soprano); Peter Harvey (Bass Baritone); Charles Daniels (Voice)
  • Conductor: Paul McCreesh
  • Ensemble: Gabrieli Players
  • Running Time: 11 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1688