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Tell me some pitying angel Z.196 The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation

Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)

Maria Keohane (photo credit: Göran Persson)

Maria Keohane (photo credit: Göran Persson)

Composer
Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)
Composition Year
1693
Artists
Maria Keohane [soprano], Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, director]) [baroque ensemble]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Tell me, some pitying angel is one of the greatest examples of Purcell’s genius for setting words and capturing a bewildering succession of changing emotions. Nahum Tate’s text tells the well-known story of the twelve-year-old Jesus going missing at the Temple from the perspective of the distraught mother. Both text and music capture Mary’s sense of desperation and helpless anxiety. She calls urgently upon some pitying angel to tell her where her son has strayed. The memory of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents makes her horribly, and quite rightly, afraid and the music recalls their escape into Egypt and her loathing of Herod. Any parent whose child has strayed from sight will feel for the four repetitions of Why each at a higher pitch. She begins to disbelieve the tales of his wondrous birth and loses all faith in the archangel Gabriel as she twice times four times demands his presence. This scene of her desolation is followed by a gently swinging arioso of Me Judah’s daughters but this quickly collapses into more distress. The final section of recitative is overwhelming with the child still not discovered.

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Tell me some pitying angel Z.196 The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation

Composer: Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)
Performance date: Tuesday 1st July 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)
Work Title Tell me some pitying angel Z.196 The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation
Composition Year 1693
Artist(s) Maria Keohane [soprano], Concerto Copenhagen (Peter Spissky, Fredrik From, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Kate Hearne [cello], Mattias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [archlute, guitar], Lars-Ulrik Mortensen [harpsichord, director]) [baroque ensemble]
Performance Date Tuesday 1st July 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:07:48
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation S-solo, 2vn, va, vc, db, lu/gui
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Tell me, some pitying angel is one of the greatest examples of Purcell’s genius for setting words and capturing a bewildering succession of changing emotions. Nahum Tate’s text tells the well-known story of the twelve-year-old Jesus going missing at the Temple from the perspective of the distraught mother. Both text and music capture Mary’s sense of desperation and helpless anxiety. She calls urgently upon some pitying angel to tell her where her son has strayed. The memory of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents makes her horribly, and quite rightly, afraid and the music recalls their escape into Egypt and her loathing of Herod. Any parent whose child has strayed from sight will feel for the four repetitions of Why each at a higher pitch. She begins to disbelieve the tales of his wondrous birth and loses all faith in the archangel Gabriel as she twice times four times demands his presence. This scene of her desolation is followed by a gently swinging arioso of Me Judah’s daughters but this quickly collapses into more distress. The final section of recitative is overwhelming with the child still not discovered.