Three Songs with Flutes

from Orpheus Britannicus

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

for voice (d’-g’’), 2 recorders & continuo

Ref. no Pur 20 (in 'cantatas')                cover page      To order:     

  • 1. Charon the peacefull Shade invites; from The Prophetess
  • 2. The Bashful Thames; from the Yorkshire Feast-Song
  • 3. Why, why shou’d men quarrel? from the Indian Queen

Charon: this song marks Dioclesian’s killing the villain Aper (the Boar), as prophesied by Delphia the prophetess. The song strangely implies that the Boar is nevertheless to be granted proper funerary observance.

The Yorkshire Feast of 1690 had to be postponed because of the change in the Monarchy. James II had recently fled the country and William and Mary were crowned as joint monarchs. Thomas D’Urfey’s words convey this upturn in events with appropriate loyal sentiments.

“Why, why shou’d men quarrel?” comes from the prologue to The Indian Queen, which was, unusually, set to music rather than being spoken. It is part of a dialogue between two Indians referring to the possibility of conflict between the Aztec and the Inca world.