Fairest Isle: A Journal - Entry 2

I can't get the tune to Fairest Isle out of my head. I think it's one the most perfect things in life. One of the great things about Purcell's music, including his way with a tune, is how simple it is. And yet it is full of invention, has such deep connection to the text and is full of musical craft. The songs on this program - from "Blow Boreas Blow" from Sir Barnaby Whigg, to the Sailor's Song from Dido, "How Blest are Shepherds" and the Sirens Duo from King Arthur, the songs of the seasons from Fairy Queen and "I attempt from Love's Sickness..." from the Indian Queen - all of these songs are so catchy, evocative and, yes, perfect. I can't imagine hearing the words set to any different music. Also on the program are the gorgeous songs "If music be the food of love" and the "Evening Hymn", excerpts from his Birthday and St. Cecelia's Day odes, the anthem "Thou knowest Lord..." and an early suite of dance tunes. We're looking forward to a whole day tomorrow of rehearsal with the singers, first individually and then all together in the evening, with our crack continuo team: lutenist Lucas Harris, cellist Margaret Gay and harpsichordist Chris Bagan. By the end of the night, we should be in good shape to put the music together with narration and dance on Monday and Tuesday, do a run-through on Wednesday, put it on stage on Thursday and be ready for our dress rehearsal Friday afternoon. The momentum will be careening towards our shows next Friday and Saturday night. There's alot of work ahead, but what pleasant work it is! I can't get over how productive and generous Henry Purcell was. To think that he only lived to be 36 years old....a bit of a terrifying thought for me, as I've exceeded that age by quite a few years now. Music must have fairly flowed from Purcell. And how fortunate we are to be able to share it with you, over 300 years after his death. More to come....
To read Larry's third journal entry, click here

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