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Purcell: Royal Welcome Songs for King James II. Album by The Sixteen

Purcell: Royal Welcome Songs for King James II. Album by The Sixteen

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Album Description

Despite being written for the celebration of royal occasions, Purcell’s Royal Welcome Songs were penned during a time of immense disillusionment with the monarchy. Filled with humour as well as an ironic detachment from the politics of the time, Ye tuneful muses and Sound the trumpet fizz with the dramatic energy which characterised his later operas and mark a crucial turning point in Purcell’s career.

This programme showcases the variety and diversity of Purcell’s writing, opening with the Chacony in G minor, which is among the great glories of music for strings, and including When on my sick bed I languish - an amazingly impassioned piece in which he bares his soul...quintessential Purcell!


The Sixteen
Harry Christophers 


'Christophers coaxes virtuosic performances from eight of the Sixteen with a fine band of period instrumentalists revelling in the glories of Purcell's unique harmonic palette.'   The Observer

'In Ye Tuneful Muses and Sound the Trumpet, the Sixteen's vocal forces are halved permitting immaculately stylish singers to shine as "soloists"...'  The Sunday Times

'Almost operatic in scale and ambition, both [welcome songs] deserve to be heard more especially in performances as poised and well-executed as here... Singing, playing, recording and presentation are exemplary.' Classical Music (Editor's Choice)

'Christophers's long familiarity with Purcell yields richly satisfying and stylish readings... this is an auspicious start to a welcome series. Choir and Organ 

'In Sound the Trumpet, the singers highlight Purcell's tongue-in-cheek response to the fawning in text, with similarly playful exaggerations and mannerisms. In short, these joyful accounts shed light on some surprisingly seldom-heard works.'  BBC Music Magazine

'Christophers creates a vivid sense of celebration and occasion, conjuring blustering trumpet fanfares and drum-rolls from his ensemble, while his solo singers pre-empt the textural variety and rhetorical sensitivity of Purcell's stage works...' Gramophone

Behind-the-Scenes Video

Track Listing:

Henry Purcell (1659-95)

1. Chacony in G minor, Z730 (c.1678)

2. When on my sick bed I languish, Z144 (1677–8)

3. True Englishmen drink a good health (Catch No. 45), Z284

Welcome Song - Ye tuneful Muses, raise your heads, Z344 (1686)
4. Symphony 
5. Ye tuneful Muses, raise your heads!
6. This point of time ends all your grief
7. In his just praise your noblest songs let fall
8. Try, try ev’ry strain
9. From the rattling of drums and the trumpet’s loud sounds
10. With him he brings the partner of his throne
11. Happy in a mutual love   
12. Whilst in music and verse our duty we show

13. A New Irish Tune in G (‘Lilliburlero’), Z646

14. God is gone up with a merry noise (Canon a 7), Z107

15. A New Scotch Tune in G, Z655

16. Save me, O God, for thy name’s sake, Z51 (1677)

Welcome Song: Sound the trumpet, beat the drum Z335 (1687)
17. Symphony
18. Sound the trumpet, beat the drum
19. Crown the year, and crown the day
20. To Caesar all hail, unequall’d in arms!  
21. Let Caesar and Urania live
22. What greater bliss can Fate bestow
23. While Caesar, like the morning star
24. To Urania and Caesar delights without measure

Total Running Time:    64.02