The Songs in the Three Plays of Don Quixote

by Thomas D'Urfey

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Varied voices

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This edition is the outcome of preparing performing material for the New London Consort’s 2009 production of Don Quixote, which includes most of the songs, and a reconstruction of the dance movements by Peter Holman. I am grateful for Philip Pickett’s inspiration and assistance.

The main source for the songs is T. D’Urfey’s ‘The Songs to the New Play of Don Quixote.’ The songs for Parts 1 and 2 of the play were published in 1694. They were followed in 1696 by those for the third part, entitled ‘New Songs in the Third Part of the Comical History of Don Quixote’. These printed volumes contain all the songs needed for the play save two: the anonymous ‘With my strings of small wire’ and Purcell’s ‘Lads and Lasses blith and gay’. These have been sourced respectively in the contemporary song-books Wit and Mirth, or, Pills to Purge Melancholy, Third edition, Vol. iii, 1707, and Thesaurus Musicus, Book III, 1695. The settings of two of the songs also printed in Orpheus Britannicus i, 1698, have been preferred over those in the Don Quixote volumes: these are Cardenio’s song ‘Let the dreadfull Engines’ which has more complete figuration, and Altisidora’s song ‘From Rosie Bow’rs’ which is more consistent.