John Blow (1649-1708)

English composer and organist John Blow (1649-1708), teacher and friend of Purcell, was known as the most significant English composer of his time. Blow's dramatic masque, Venus and Adonis, became an example for Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. The five-voice Salvator mundi, likely to have been composed in the mid-1670s, sets a text from Cantiones Sacrae (1575) traditionally used at the anointing of the sick. The sense of pleading for salvation is captured exquisitely by Blow’s bold use of dissonance and resolution as the voices clash against one another, especially the striking tension on the words "per crucem et sanguinem" (by thy cross and blood). 

©Ryan Turner

Back to Other Notes & Translations