See where she sits

A Symphony Song

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

for soprano (d'-a''flat), bass (F-e'flat), two violins and bc

Ref. no Pur 14 (in 'cantatas')           sample page      cover page      To order:     

Purcell wrote a number of symphony songs for voices with various instruments. Two of them are detailed above - see Pur 6. The present work, ‘See where she sits’ is based on words by Abraham Cowley (1618-1667). (as is ‘How pleasant is this flow’ry Plain and Grove’ - Pur 6).

The setting of the second stanza for soprano solo has a more lyrical feeling than the other three, and is preceded by a symphony for the violins which sets the mood. The first, third and fourth stanzas with their more ironic tone, are given a lively contrapuntal treatment, with much chromaticism, producing passages that are remarkable for their degree of dissonance.