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Wise: The Ways of Zion do Mourn

Wise: The Ways of Zion do Mourn

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Choral leaflet

£2.25

Publisher: Cathedral Press
ISBN: CP47

The ways of Zion do mourn is probably Wise's best-known anthem, and it may be regarded as his finest work. With its distinctive melodic and chromatic writing, its mainly poignant mood contrasts with declamatory writing for the bass soloist. Like a number of other verse anthems of the early-Restoration period, such as Purcell's 'Bell' anthem and William Turner's Lord, Thou hast been our refoge [CP 18], the same short chorus is heard both in the middle of the work and at its end - an arrangement born of necessity (the loss of continuity in the training of boy choristers during the period of the Commonwealth) but which remained something of a convention until the closing years of the century and beyond. Despite Wise's association with the Chapel Royal, his verse anthems seemingly do not incorporate instrumental ritornelli, unlike many by his contemporaries, notably Purcell, Blow and Pelham Humfrey. However, one Source of the present anthem has an introductory instrumental passage with another between bars 56- 7 while three sources include 'Ritornello' directions (see page 14 for details). Such features indicate that a version with ritornelli apparently existed at some stage. Bass soloists may, if necessary, opt for alternative upper notes (as in the earliest Source) at the end of relevant phrases.