VIVAT122

Purcell: Birthday Odes for Queen Mary

Purcell: Birthday Odes for Queen Mary

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Following their much-lauded recent recording of Purcell Royal Odes (a 2021 Gramophone Awards finalist), The King’s Consort gathers together the same world-class vocal and instrumental ensemble in three more of Purcell’s finest odes written to celebrate the birthday of Queen Mary.

Purcell’s odes for Queen Mary show him at his best. A glorious succession of overtures, choruses, arias and delicious ritornelli display astonishing imagination and ingenuity: whilst overtly celebratory, never far beneath the surface lies the sense of melancholy which is the hallmark of Purcell’s greatest music. “Arise my Muse” (1690), “Love’s goddess sure” (1692) and “Celebrate this festival” (1693) are amongst his finest works.

For more than three decades TKC has been renowned across the globe for its performances of the music of Henry Purcell. In 1988, TKC recorded its first disc of Purcell’s odes: that ground-breaking series was followed by complete series of the sacred music and the secular songs, and changed the musical world’s perception of Purcell. Since then there has been hardly a year in which the odes haven’t appeared in TKC’s concert programmes: this is music which runs through the ensemble’s veins.

In April 2021, TKC returned to the studio to record three substantial odes written for Queen Mary. An outstanding team of soloists (led by Carolyn Sampson, Iestyn Davies, Charles Daniels and Matthew Brook) included one member of the ensemble who took part in that first recording, alongside others who have been performing these works with TKC for twenty years. On the other hand, three of the singers were not even born when TKC first recorded Purcell odes. A superlative instrumental ensemble provides equally outstanding contributions.

The recording was made in the spacious surroundings of recently restored Fairfield Halls, whose warm, clear acoustic is perfect for this music. Extensive presentation includes a 52 page booklet with substantial liner notes in three languages, together with sung texts and session photos.

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Track Composer Title Duration Play
1 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
Symphony
3’01  
2 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
Arise, my muse, and to thy tuneful lyre
2’00  
3 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
Ye sons of music, raise your voices high
0’52  
4 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
Then sound your instruments 
1’32  
5 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
See how the glitt’ring ruler of the day
3’11  
6 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
Hail, gracious Gloriana, hail 
2’52  
7 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
And since the time’s distress 
1’25  
8 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
To quell his country’s foes
1’37  
9 Purcell Arise, my Muse:
But ah, I see Eusebia drown’d in tears
5’35  
10 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Symphony
3’36  
11 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Love’s goddess sure was blind
2’51  
12 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Those eyes, that form, that lofty mien
1’22  
13 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Sweetness of nature
2’43  
14 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Long may she reign over this isle
3’04  
15 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
May her blest example chase
1’56  
16 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
Many such days may she behold
2’57  
17 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
May she to heaven late return
1’29  
18 Purcell Love’s goddess sure:
As much as we below shall mourn
2’15  
19 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Symphony
1’45  
20 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Opening solos & chorus
1’26  
21 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Britain, now thy cares beguile
2’30  
22 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
‘Tis sacred, bid the trumpet cease 
0’52  
23 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Let sullen Discord smile
3’03  
24 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Crown the altar, deck the shrine
2’26  
25 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Expected Spring at last is come
1’41  
26 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
April, who till now has mourned
2’51  
27 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Departing thus you’ll hear him say
1’35  
28 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Happy realm, beyond expressing
3’18  
29 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
While, for a righteous cause he arms
4’53  
30 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Return, fond Muse, the thoughts of war
3’40  
31 Purcell Celebrate this festival:
Kindly treat Maria’s day
2’37  
    Total 76’55  
Download CD booklet (PDF)

“Stylish, affectionate performances … the instrumental colours are beautifully shaded … the singing is exemplary across the board … Bring on the next volume!”
(Gramophone)

“Full of joy and vivacity … the sheer exuberance of Purcell’s writing is infectious”
(Classical Explorer)

“The casting is opulent … it feels unfair to single out any singer in particular; they’re all excellent … These are hugely entertaining and uplifting pieces. Instrumental accompaniments from The King’s Consort are lively and colourful”
(The Arts Desk)

“Carolyn Sampson creates pearls from Purcell’s ornate contours … peerless musicianship from Iestyn Davies and Hugh Cutting … Edward Grint is marvellously heroic … exquisite playing”
(Opera Today)

“Performed in vividly engaging and stylish fashion”
(Planet Hugill)

VIVAT 122
Purcell: Birthday Odes for Queen Mary

Carolyn Sampson soprano
Emily Owen soprano
Iestyn Davies countertenor
Hugh Cutting countertenor
Charles Daniels tenor
David de Winter tenor
Matthew Brook bass
Edward Grint bass
The King’s Consort
Robert King conductor