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Fanfare Magazine: 43:3 (01-02/2020) 
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Royal Welcome Songs for King Charles II Volume II Product Image

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Reviewer: J. F. Weber


This is the third entry in a series of royal welcome songs. There are two of them here, Welcome to all the pleasures and From hardy climes, along with anthems and songs. The former was written in 1683 for the first annual observance of St. Cecilia’s Day (November 22) by the newly formed Musical Society. It is less well known than the masterly Hail, Bright Cecilia of 1692, but I acquired both of Alfred Deller’s recordings (Bach Guild and Harmonia Mundi), as well as Robert King (Fanfare 12:5), Andrew Parrott (13:3), and Philippe Herreweghe.


The other is From hardy climes (referring wryly to the presumed weather in Denmark), written in the same year for the arrival of George, the younger son of the King of Denmark, to marry Anne, the younger daughter of James, the Duke of York. Ironically, as Andrew Pinnock points out in the notes, James succeeded his brother as king, followed by his daughters Mary (with William of Orange, her husband) and then Anne, but the “future kings and queens” predicted in the text did not succeed Anne on the throne, for she was the last reigning Stuart.


I can find only one previous recording, included in the fourth of Robert King’s eight CDs of all the odes and welcome songs (15:2), later issued in a boxed set. I missed the first disc in the series, dedicated to James II (41:3), which also had two welcome songs, Sound the trumpet and Ye tuneful muses. Fanfare missed the second disc entirely, the first one for Charles II, that included Welcome, Vicegerent of the mighty King and Fly, bold rebellion.


The rest of the program is much less familiar. Lord, how long wilt thou be angry was in a fine Purcell collection by George Guest on an Argo LP and in the superb boxed set by Simon Preston (5:4; later on one CD, 7:5, and complete on two CDs even later); Richard Marlow included it in a disc of anthems (11:3), and of course it is found in the 11th disc of King’s complete anthems and services (18:4). Deller sang O solitude on a disc so titled (it is on King’s third disc of solo songs) and John Scott directed Hear my prayer (35:1; reissued 40:6), found in the third disc of King’s complete anthems and services (16:5). Everything else is new to me, since I missed out on the Hyperion series after the first three discs.

Plunged in the confines of despair
is a devotional song based on Psalm 130, and In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust is an anthem based on Psalm 71. From silent shades is a mad song, widely published at the time and called here one of Purcell’s greatest hits. Of all the instruments is a catch, the briefest piece on the program, and an instrumental pavan offers variety. Christophers’s three discs offer more varied programming than King’s Hyperion series, which collects similar works on 22 discs in three boxed sets. I welcomed (no pun intended) the song for Prince George as an interesting, if slight, addition to my Purcell collection. Christophers does everything he touches so well, as this one bears out.

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