Harmonia Sacra: or Divine Hymns and Dialogues[PLAYFORD, Henry]
with A Through-Bass for the Theorbo-Lute, Bass Viol, Harpsichord, or Organ. Composed by the Best Masters of the Last and Present Age. The Words by several Learned and Pious Persons. The first Book. The 2nd Edition very much Enlarged and Corrected; also four Excellent Anthems of the late Mr H. Purcell’s never before Printed.
Harmonia Sacra or Divine Hymns and Dialogues with a thorow-bass for the Theorbo-Lute, Bass-Viol, Harpsichord, or Organ. Composed by the Best Masters. The Words by several Learned and Pious Persons. The Second Book.
Two Divine Hymns: being a suppliment to the Second Book of Harmoniae Sacra. 1700
London: William Pearson/Edward Jones. 1703 and 1693.
First edition of the Second Book, Second edition of the First Book. Two volumes in one. Folio (314x195mm). pp. Book 1: [1bl.], [viii], 130; Book 2: [viii], 8ll (A²-D²), 9-74; 8. The pagination of the Second Book is a little eccentric: the first four gatherings are foliated 1-8. The remaining gatherings are paginated except that gathering O has only one leaf which is numbered 45/48. There is no O2. However, the music and the words do follow correctly and the piece (Purcell's glorious "In guilty night") is complete. Engraved frontispiece to both books. Contemporary brown panelled calf with double lined border in blind on upper and lower covers. The panels are bordered with double lines in blind with a simple flower and leaf design at the each corner of the panel. Rebacked in lighter tan calf, six raised bands, original red label in second compartment with title in gilt. There has been wear, with some loss, to the corners but these have been repaired. Contents are very good with some discolouration to the end-papers and only minimal browning to the text. There is a tear to the bottom corner of Y but no loss of text. This is a very nice copy of an important set of works which lie at the heart of a golden age of English music.
Harmonia Sacra, a collection of sacred music, was first published by Henry Playford in 1688. A second volume was published in 1693 (the first edition of which is offered here). In 1703, a second edition of the first book was published with additions and corrections. This is bound here with the second book, making an attractive collection. The late 17th century was a (some might say, rare) moment of brilliance in English music, the last one before the 20th century and Henry Purcell was its presiding genius. His work dominates this collection but there is music by William Blow and Matthew Locke. The texts are mainly from biblical or liturgical sources but there are settings of poems by Herbert and Cowley. The music here conjures up feelings of spiritual desolation: it is highly charged and bleak but, in the way of English 17th century melancholy, it offers consolation and comfort.
First Book: ESTC T154450, Second Book: ESTC R231598, Wing P2437