Henry Purcell

The so-called “Cold Song” or the “What Power Art Thou?” aria from King Arthur opera is one of the most interesting English pieces of music composed by Henry Purcell. You will see three different performances by very different artists. The first one is the classical piece by Andreas Scholl, along with the score for you to notice the difficulty and the skill needed. This kind of composition requires some previous musical education, otherwise it’s hard to understand and enjoy. The lyrics can be found at the end of the article.

The 2nd performance is very baroque and eerie, by Klaus Nomi. His biography is worth reading.

The 3rd performance is by Sting, quite unexpected from a non-classical singer.

What power art thou?
Who from below
Hast made me rise?
Unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow!

See’st thou not how stiff
And wondrous old?
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold…

I can scarcely move
Or draw my breath

Let me, let me
Freeze again to death!


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