O, O let me Weep!

from Orpheus Britannicus

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

for soprano (d'-g''), oboe (or recorder) and bc

Ref. no Pur 10 (in 'cantatas')           sample page      cover page      To order:     

The Plaint O, O, let me Weep! is part of the masque in Act V of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, where Juno appears and sings first the Epithalamium Thrice happy lovers, and then The Plaint. The main source for this song is Orpheus Britannicus. Peter Holman suggests that the quality and the range of the obbligato instrument suggest a recorder, rather than the violin indicated: if this were so it would be the only instance in Purcell’s works of his writing for a single recorder. Clifford Bartlett in his edition of the Fairy Queen suggests violin or oboe as the appropriate instrument. Accordingly, the piece is presented here as a song with oboe obbligato, which recorder players may also like to add to their repertoire.