Another song from the “English Orpheus” Henry Purcell, Oh! Fair Cedaria, sung by tenor Thomas Cooley. High Definition video from the Purcell Project, from the San Francisco Early Music Ensemble Voices of Music. Featuring Elisabeth Reed, viola da gamba; Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ, and David Tayler, archlute.
Purcell’s song begins with a florid emblem over pedal point in the bass which creates both a free atmosphere as well as a texture similar to recitativo accompagnato. The introduction is followed by a breezy, walking ground bass that occasionally wanders from its original pattern, and is stylistically similar to mid-century Italian songs. The final section develops fragments from the opening melodic material, from both the voice and bass parts, and recasts the harmony in the minor mode, leavened with chromatic passing tones.
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