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CD Spotlight

MERRY OR SAD

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'... New College ... can produce English chapel singing at its best, both sensitive and robust.'

The 'worthy' William Boyce -
with ROBERT ANDERSON

 

Boyce - David's Lamentation over Saul and Jonathan (c) 2000 ASV Ltd

The words of David's Lamentation are by John Lockman, who was inspired to verse more than twenty years later after the death of Handel:

To mourn o'er thee, I call not on the nine,
Nor wait for influence at Apollo's shrine.
Vain fiction! O for David's sacred string!
Who but a muse divine of thee should sing?

Quite so: but in fact the Lamentation was first performed on 16 April 1736 in the large 'Apollo' room at the Devil Tavern by London's Temple Bar. The Apollo Academy was a breakaway group founded by Maurice Greene, Boyce's teacher, in 1731, from the Academy of Ancient Music. Handel's comment on hearing about the choice of tavern is said to have been 'De toctor Green is gone to the tefel!'. By this time many of Boyce's anthems were in the repertoire of the Chapel Royal, works crowned by the moving splendour of the Lamentation. It was appropriate, therefore, that in May 1736 Boyce should be appointed an official composer to the Chapel Royal under Greene. Lockman's text was reset in 1740 by Handel's friend and amanuensis, John Christopher Smith. But Boyce had the last word, with a performance in 1744 by the Philharmonic Society of Dublin.

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Copyright © 6 May 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - ASV CD GAU 208

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