A beautiful aria for soprano and strings from Thomas Arne's Judith.
Arne’s Judith was premiered at the Drury Lane Theatre, on 27 February 1761. It followed the success of Arne’s comic opera Thomas and Sally the previous year and was to be followed by his first serious opera Artaxerxes. All three of these stage works were written for the young singer Charlotte Brent, who was Arne’s pupil and mistress. In Judith, Brent sang the principal role, an Israelite widow who saves her city of Bethulia from the Assyrian army. The song ‘Sleep, gentle cherub’ appears at the end of the second act, as Judith lulls the drunken Assyrian general, Holofernes, to sleep before beheading him.
Sleep, gentle cherub, sleep descend, Thy healing wings protective spread, And o'ver his sacred temples bend, O bend their salutary shade.
Listen to Arne's 'Sleep, Gentle Cherub' on YouTube.
Arne - Sleep, Gentle Cherub. Digital Download
Scoring: Soprano, 2 violins, viola, basso continuo
Contents: Full score, soprano and keyboard reduction, soprano and continuo realisation, violin 1 and 2, viola, basso continuo.
Total pages: 16
File size: 2.5 MB
Work duration: 3'
Catalogue number: CK0049
Listen to the aria here.