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

Composer: Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)
Share :


Composer: Henry Purcell (b. 1659 - d. 1695)

Performance date: 01/07/2014

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1693

Duration: 00:07:48

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE

Instrumentation Category:Small Mixed Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: S-solo, 2vn, va, vc, db, lu/gui

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]

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.