The Four SEASONS in the Fairy Queen

from Orpheus Britannicus

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

for two sopranos (e'-a''), tenor (e-g') and bass (A-e') solos, strings and bc

Ref. no Pur 11 (in 'cantatas')           sample page      cover page      To order:     

The Four Seasons are part of the masque in Act IV of Purcell's The Fairy Queen, given to celebrate Oberon's birthday. After a symphony, Phoebus appears, who as the rising Sun gives Life Warmth and Vigour to all". Phoebus is acknowledged by the chorus "Hail great Parent of us all". Each of the Four Seasons then makes their characteristic offering to him; Spring skippingly, Summer with a May-day dance, Autumn with reflective counterpoint, and finally Winter with his prayer for warmth in music of surpassing poignancy.