1 800 222 6872

Henry Purcell: Harmonia Sacra / Rosemary Joshua, Christophe Rousset

Audio Samples

>Purcell, Henry : Tell me, some pitying angel, Z 196 "Blessed Virgin's Expostulation"
>Purcell, Henry : In the black, dismal dungeon of despair, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 190
>Purcell, Henry : We sing to Him whose wisdom form'd the ear, Z 199
>Purcell, Henry : Air for keyboard in G minor, ZT 693/2
>Purcell, Henry : Great God and just, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 186
>Purcell, Henry : My song shall be alway, anthem for bass (or soprano), chorus, strings & continuo, Z. 31
>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in D minor, Z D222 "Celebrate this Festival"
>Purcell, Henry : Lord, what is man?, Z 192
>Purcell, Henry : Let the night perish, Z 191 "Job's Curse"
>Purcell, Henry : Chacony for Strings in G minor, Z 730
>Purcell, Henry : Night is come, Z D77
>Purcell, Henry : With sick and famish'd eyes, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 200
>Purcell, Henry : How have I stray'd, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 188
>Purcell, Henry : Suite for Harpsichord no 2 in G minor, Z 661
>Purcell, Henry : My op'ning eyes are purg'd, song, ZD72 (spurious)
>Purcell, Henry : How long, great God, Z 189
>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in C minor, Z T681
>Purcell, Henry : Sleep, Adam, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 195
>Purcell, Henry : A Morning Hymn (Thou wakeful shepherd), Z. 198
>Purcell, Henry : The earth trembled, Z. 197
>Purcell, Henry : An Evening Hymn to the Ground, "Now that the sun hath veiled his light"

Album Summary

>Purcell, Henry : Tell me, some pitying angel, Z 196 "Blessed Virgin's Expostulation"
>Purcell, Henry : In the black, dismal dungeon of despair, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 190
>Purcell, Henry : We sing to Him whose wisdom form'd the ear, Z 199
>Purcell, Henry : Air for keyboard in G minor, ZT 693/2
>Purcell, Henry : Great God and just, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 186
>Purcell, Henry : My song shall be alway, anthem for bass (or soprano), chorus, strings & continuo, Z. 31
>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in D minor, Z D222 "Celebrate this Festival"
>Purcell, Henry : Lord, what is man?, Z 192
>Purcell, Henry : Let the night perish, Z 191 "Job's Curse"
>Purcell, Henry : Chacony for Strings in G minor, Z 730
>Purcell, Henry : Night is come, Z D77
>Purcell, Henry : With sick and famish'd eyes, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 200
>Purcell, Henry : How have I stray'd, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 188
>Purcell, Henry : Suite for Harpsichord no 2 in G minor, Z 661
>Purcell, Henry : My op'ning eyes are purg'd, song, ZD72 (spurious)
>Purcell, Henry : How long, great God, Z 189
>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in C minor, Z T681
>Purcell, Henry : Sleep, Adam, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 195
>Purcell, Henry : A Morning Hymn (Thou wakeful shepherd), Z. 198
>Purcell, Henry : The earth trembled, Z. 197
>Purcell, Henry : An Evening Hymn to the Ground, "Now that the sun hath veiled his light"
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Purcell was not just a creature of the theatre - his genius with the human voice also extended to sacred and secular songs. Among his least well-known works, many of Purcell's sacred songs remained in manuscript and known only to a select few. It is possible that they were intended solely for an elite audience at court. Published by Henry Playford, Harmonia Sacra was a two-volume anthology of devotional song containing compositions by Purcell and several of his contemporaries. The settings here are scored for small forces - one to two voices, accompanied by continuo. The emotional range, however, is huge. This disc, featuring soprano Rosemary Joshua supported by Christophe Rousset and members of Les Talens Lyriques, presents a selection of sixteen of Purcell's solo songs interspersed with his works for harpsichord played by Christophe Rousset.

Financial Times
Purcell is not known as a composer of sacred songs. The 24 here, all scored for a single high voice, come from two volumes published in his later years, which group the work of several composers but are dominated by Purcell's. Some are less than 30 bars long, others sound almost cantata-like. All are intimate and varied in tone. Whether they were designed to be heard in sequence like this is questionable, but [Rosemary] Joshua brings them vividly to life.

Gramophone Magazine
Joshua brings vocal security and textual intelligence to these works and though a slightly flighty vibrato sometimes threatens the music's intimacy, it does not get in the way of superbly realised greater dramatic truth. The continuo accompaniments are as sensitively accomplished as one would expect from such a line-up...If this is a sober disc, it is also one which reeks of Purcell's genius.

Sunday Times
For a singer who began her career in the early 1990s, Joshua sounds astonishingly fresh - Emma Kirkby-like in the purity of her sound, although she brings a wider palette of colour to this kind of music than the veteran early-music diva ever did.

The Times
The word-painting of the sacred texts - involving angular leaps, florid melismas and a fluid mixture of declamation and gorgeous lyricism - is intense and detailed. Rosemary Joshua does it full justice, yet also seems to float, lithe and graceful, through it all. It's a masterclass in delicate Baroque singing.

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
On his title pages to the two volumes, Playford noted that the continuo is "for the theorbo lute, bass-viol, harpsichord, or organ". The continuo ensemble on this recording consists of viola da gamba, lute, harpsichord, and organ. Rousset plays both keyboard instruments. Purists may object to the changing composition of the continuo ensemble in a song, usually to delineate the changing character of the words and music. I found that somewhat jarring sometimes, but the playing itself is always at the highest standard.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010).



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Works Details

>Purcell, Henry : Tell me, some pitying angel, Z 196 "Blessed Virgin's Expostulation"
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1693

>Purcell, Henry : In the black, dismal dungeon of despair, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 190
  • Performers: Christophe Rousset (Organ); Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1687

>Purcell, Henry : We sing to Him whose wisdom form'd the ear, Z 199
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: circa 1688

>Purcell, Henry : Air for keyboard in G minor, ZT 693/2
  • Performers: Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Purcell, Henry : Great God and just, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 186
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1688

>Purcell, Henry : My song shall be alway, anthem for bass (or soprano), chorus, strings & continuo, Z. 31
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1690

>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in D minor, Z D222 "Celebrate this Festival"
  • Performers: Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Purcell, Henry : Lord, what is man?, Z 192
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1692

>Purcell, Henry : Let the night perish, Z 191 "Job's Curse"
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: circa 1687

>Purcell, Henry : Chacony for Strings in G minor, Z 730
  • Performers: Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1678

>Purcell, Henry : Night is come, Z D77
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Purcell, Henry : With sick and famish'd eyes, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 200
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1688

>Purcell, Henry : How have I stray'd, sacred song for soprano, chorus & continuo, Z. 188
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: circa 1677

>Purcell, Henry : Suite for Harpsichord no 2 in G minor, Z 661
  • Performers: Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1696

>Purcell, Henry : My op'ning eyes are purg'd, song, ZD72 (spurious)
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Purcell, Henry : How long, great God, Z 189
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1687

>Purcell, Henry : Ground for Harpsichord in C minor, Z T681
  • Performers: Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Purcell, Henry : Sleep, Adam, sacred song for soprano & continuo, Z. 195
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1693

>Purcell, Henry : A Morning Hymn (Thou wakeful shepherd), Z. 198
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1688

>Purcell, Henry : The earth trembled, Z. 197
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1688

>Purcell, Henry : An Evening Hymn to the Ground, "Now that the sun hath veiled his light"
  • Performers: Rosemary Joshua (Soprano); Laurence Dreyfus; Christophe Rousset (Organ)
  • Conductor: Christophe Rousset
  • Ensemble: Les Talens Lyriques
  • Notes: la Galerie dorée de la Banque de France (11/28/2010-12/01/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: circa 1687