Six English Cantatas
by Boyce, Broderip, Burgess, Carey, Eccles, and Young.
Editor: Edited and with an Introduction by Peter Harrison
On Voice and Beauty uses 2 violins, otherwise all are set for voice and continuo
Cupid, the Roman God of desire, that rather chubby, impish, winged boy with his mischievous bow and arrow, often has a significant contribution to make to the story lines. In Henry Carey’s ‘Belinda and Eurillo’ Belinda is compared to Diana the Roman goddess of hunting. The fructifying Zephyrs breath balmy breezes in ‘Cælia’ but here Burgess or his librettist confines Venus, the Roman Goddess of beauty ‘to her Isle’, referring to her as ‘the Cyprian dame’ perhaps confusing Venus with her Greek equivalent Aphrodite.
John Eccles’ work, ‘Love Kindled’ is little more than a song while the tale of ‘Cælia’, a rather convoluted saga of mistaken identity, by Henry Burgess, is a more extended work with the solo singer expected to take several parts as well as acting as narrator.
We can but speculate on the nature of contemporary performances. As a minimum usually one singer and a continuo instrument are required but occasionally there are obbligato instrumental parts as in John Broderip’s exposition of the power of music in ‘On Voice and Beauty’.