Purcell Come, Ye Sons of Art (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary) Vocal ScoreIn the time of Purcell, odes were composed by the Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. Although Purcell was never appointed to head the Chapel Royal, he was a favorite composer of the king, so it fell to him to compose odes for the birthday of Queen Mary II in 1694. Come, Ye Sons of Art, Away was the final birthday ode Purcell composed for Queen Mary; by the end of 1695 both she and Purcell had passed away. It has seven movements, plus an opening symphony, which Purcell later rewrote and incorporated into his opera The Indian Queen. If you wish to buy Purcell's Come Ye Sons of Art, please click Vocal Scores and then FILTER BY COMPOSER, or see below for more.
The overture has three movements. The refined and majestic Largo is followed by a fugal Canzona and a lush Adagio. The opening chorus is on the words "Come, Ye sons of Art," and serves as an introduction to the poetic text. "Sound the Trumpet" is a striking duet for two countertenors. The melody dances over a ground bass as the singers imitate the sound of trumpets. "Strike the Viol" is a haunting countertenor solo in three, with an instrumental ritornello. The solo features an obbligato for two flutes, and the ritornello has the flutes and violins answer one another.
Each of these movements is a complete work in itself. Purcell changes the orchestration, the voice to which he gives the solo line, the form, and the mood of each. After the two countertenor pieces, he writes the bass solo with chorus "No day that such a blessing gave." It is a prayer that this day be a day of jubilee, and with the remaining portion of the composition, the prayer is heard. Jubilation and rejoicing are in every note. "Bid the Virtues" is a fanciful soprano solo with oboe obbligato, followed by a florid bass solo over a ground bass called "These are the Sacred Charms that Shield." A soprano and bass duet comprises the main body of the final movement, with a choral ritornello. This is Purcell at his happiest and most innocent.
When the chorus enters to restate the final verse, it is accompanied by the entire ensemble of instruments, which emphasizes the joyful mood.
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