Suite in G major – excerpts
Hail, Bright Cecelia – ’Tis nature’s voice
A New Ground
Music for a while
Suite in D major – excerpts
Sweeter than roses
Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
Simon Wall (tenor)
Members of the Academy of Ancient Music
Richard Egarr (harpsichord/director)
The centrepiece of this concert – introduced by Suzy Klein and originally presented to celebrate the 350th anniversary year of Purcell’s birth in 2009 – is an affecting tribute to the composer by his teacher and predecessor as organist of Westminster Abbey, John Blow. It sets Dryden’s poem of the same name, which describes how ‘the lark and linnet sing’ but then fall silent at the appearance of ‘the matchless man, our Orpheus’.
A sequence of Purcell’s solo songs and keyboard pieces and the deeply moving Evening Hymn complete this mix of mellifluous music, performed by English singers Iestyn Davies and Simon Wall. The duo are accompanied by members of the Academy of Ancient Music, led from the harpsichord by their Artistic Director Richard Egarr.