Boyce, William: Three Birthday Odes for Prince George (c.1750–1752)
Facsimile: Bodleian Library, Oxford, MSS Mus. Sch. c.105, c.106, d.264
Introduction by Robert Bruce
The King’s odes belong to a tradition reaching back to the 1680s, using a grand style which had been developed by John Blow and Henry Purcell; by Boyce’s time such court odes had substantial overtures, three or four vocal soloists and choral sections. These three odes were not written for formal court use, but for the country house and pleasure garden. Boyce set them in a simple dialogue for soprano and tenor accompanied by an orchestra. All three scores are in Boyce’s hand. The music for the first and third odes is reproduced actual size. The second ode has been reduced by 43%.