Lord, how long wilt thou be angry
Henry Purcell (1659-95)
Text from Psalm 79:5, 8, 9, 13
Lord, how long wilt thou be angry; shall thy jealously burn like fire forever?
O remember not our old sins, but have mercy upon us, and that soon; for we are come to great misery.
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name: O deliver us, and be merciful unto our sins, for thy Name's sake.
So we, that are thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture, shall give thee thanks for ever; and will always be shewing forth thy praise from one
generation to another.
1. What is the general mood of this piece? Does it remain the same throughout?
2. In the progression of the piece, is there a climax or a high point? If so, where in the text does it occur?
3. What musical techniques has Purcell used to create tension in this piece?
Students should write their general impressions of this piece and then answer the questions above. A short or long sharing/discussion time may be provided by the teacher. This activity can be done with ANY piece of choral music...of course, the questions might change!