Purcell's eight-part setting of Hear My Prayer, O Lord—also a funeral anthem, thought to have been left unfinished—is notable for its structure and harmonic plangency. Its construction implies a long, unbroken crescendo from beginning to end, a crescendo not only of volume but one which underscores a growing intensity of emotion, abetted by the pungent dissonances heard when the text moves from "Hear my prayer, O Lord," to "and let my crying come unto Thee." Here again, Purcell astonishes the listener with extrovert, forward-looking audacity and power of personality.

©John W. Ehrlich (2001)