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Purcell: The Indian Queen. Album by The Sixteen

Purcell: The Indian Queen. Album by The Sixteen

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Album Description

Henry Purcell was a brilliant music dramatist and in The Indian Queen there is a plethora of detail, colour and characterisation to be explored in every symphony, air and dance. Purcell's instrumental writing leaps off the page with string writing that is second to none and a wealth of variety capped by exquisite writing for trumpet, oboes and recorders.

Based on Dryden’s play, Henry Purcell’s music from The Indian Queen deals with the conflict between the Mexican and Peruvians and principally with Queen Zempoalla. The Indian Queen is a classic story of love and war and, as with all good stories, things don’t go quite as planned for the eponymous Queen… 

There is so much exceptional vocal music to revel in but none better than the extraordinary recitative You twice ten hundred deities for the magician Ismeron which opens Act III, and was described by the historian Charles Burney as “the best piece of recitative in our language”.

Like Mozart and Schubert, Henry Purcell lived all too short a life – he lived just over 30 years – and for that reason it was left to his brother Daniel to complete The Indian Queen. Daniel was no Henry but his final Hymeneal masque allows a little light relief. Act V, which was the last music that Henry wrote, is a perfect Didoesque ending to The Indian Queen proper and just proves how we as music lovers suffer when these geniuses die young.


The Sixteen
Harry Christophers

Behind-the-Scenes Video

Track Listing

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
1. Catch: To all lovers of music, performers and scrapers

The Indian Queen
First Music
2. Air
3. Hornpipe

Second Music
4. Air
5. Hornpipe

Act 1
6. Overture
7. Trumpet Tune

8. Wake, Quivera, our soft rest must cease
9 Why should men quarrel here, where all possess
10. By ancient prophecies we have been told

11. Trumpet Tune

Act II
12. Symphony
13. I come to sing great Zempoalla's story
14. What flatt'ring noise is this
15. Begone, curst fiends of Hell
16. We come to sing great Zempoalla's story

17. You twice ten hundred deities
18. Symphony: The God of Dreams rises
19. Seek not to know what must not be reveal'd
20. Trumpet Overture
21. Ah, how happy are we
22. We, the spirits of the air
23. I attempt from love's sickness to fly in vain - Third Act Tune: Rondeau

Act IV
24. They tell us that your mighty powers
25. Fourth Act Tune: Air

Act V
26. While thus we bow before your shrine

Daniel Purcell (1664-1717)
The Masque of Hymen
27. Symphony
28. To bless the genial bed with chaste delights
29. Come all, come all
30. I'm glad I have met him
31. Good people, I'd make you all blest if I could
32. My honey, my pug
33. The joys of wedlock soon are past
34. Sound, sound the trumpet, let Love's subjects know
35. Make haste, make haste to put on Love's chains
36. Trumpet Air
37. Let loud Renown with all her thousand tongues