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Composer: Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)

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Evening performance
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GenevaKing Arthur

King Arthur
Purcell: King Arthur
Leonardo Garcia Alarcón; Alain Maratrat; Grand Théâtre de Genève; Alan Woodbridge; Grand Théâtre Opera Chorus; Cappella Mediterranea

HalifaxJane Archibald in Recital

Jane Archibald in Recital
Purcell, Debussy, Schubert, Strauss R., Traditional, Strauss II
Jane Archibald; Dominic Desautels; Liz Upchurch

LondonChoir of Westminster Abbey

Purcell, Charpentier
James O'Donnell; Choir of Westminster Abbey; St James's Baroque

SingaporeSSO Chamber Series: The Glory of Baroque

Gabrielli, Biber, Stradella, Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi
Peter Hanson; Members of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra

DuderstadtChrist Church Cathedral Choir

Purcell, Handel, Byrd
Stephen Darlington; Christ Church Cathedral Choir
Latest reviewsSee more...

O/MODƏRNT at Wigmore Hall: A descent into melodrama

Hugo Ticciati © Marco Borggreve
Conceptually, the programme of descending and rising fourths offered a real treat: in practice, the musicians' skill was in danger of being lost as they attempted to recover from their opening gimmickry.
***11
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From Naxos to Carthage: Ancient Classical Tales from Karen Cargill and the Scottish Ensemble

Karen Cargill © Ken Dundas
Mezzo soprano Karen Cargill and the Scottish Ensemble guest-led by Matthew Truscott in a programme of music from Purcell to Stravinsky all inspired by tales from Ancient Greece.
****1
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Manze and Fox’s brilliant Britten

Andrew Manze © Benjamin Ealovega
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra also have a winner in a radiant Vaughan Williams Symphony no. 5.
*****
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Emmanuelle Haïm brings early music to the LA Phil

Emmanuelle Haïm © Simon Fowler
Familiarity doesn't always breed contempt: Bach's famous Air proves the highlight of an enjoyable evening of Purcell, Bach and Pergolesi in the magnificent surroundings of Disney Hall.
***11
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Manze spans the centuries at the Elbphilharmonie

Andrew Manze © Benjamin Ealovega
Marking his debut with the NDR Elbphilharmonieorchester, Andrew Manze nails his colours to the mast with Purcell and Vaughan Williams as well as accompanying Alban Gerhardt in Walton.
***11
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Biography

The nonpareil of English music

Henry Purcell enjoyed a meteoric career and a reputation that outshone that of all his contemporaries. He was brought up in the tradition of English contrapuntal choral music, becoming organist of Westminster Abbey at just twenty-two years old, but his main career was as a court composer at a time when French and Italian baroque styles were flooding into London. Uniquely, Purcell married the three traditions. He combined an impeccable ear for baroque harmony and instrumentation with a natural ability for counterpoint and a rare talent for setting words to music.

Together with his one-time teacher John Blow and the Italian immigrant Giovanni Battista Draghi, he created English baroque opera, with his Dido and Aeneas remaining the most popular of the genre. The shifting religious and court politics of his day resulted in his writing in a wide variety of styles, including everything from court odes to viol suites and keyboard music. His vocal music ranged from large scale hymns and anthems to intimate and popular songs which people would sing in the street. He could write sacred music of elegance and beauty, but was also a master of "catches", humurous part-songs with bawdy or seditious words.

To read more about Purcell's life and music, click on this biography of Purcell by the BBC's Terry Barfoot.

Key works
If you're unfamilar with Purcell's music, you have some treats in store. Listen to Dido's Lament from Dido and Aeneas, an extraordinary musical picture of the depths of despair, the Anthems and Services with their huge variety of vocal colour, or the wonderfully intricate instrumental fantasies (the Fantasy upon one note is particularly fine). To get you started, click here for a selection

List of works
12 Sonatas in 3 parts: no.6 in C major: LargoAbdelazer, Z 570: suiteAirs and DancesAnthem: Remember not, Lord, our offencesBess of Bedlam or From Silent Shades, Z 370Birthday ode for Queen Mary / Come ye sons of art, away, Z323Bonduca, Z.574: Sing ye Druids, all your voices raiseChaconne in G Minor, Z 730Chacony in G minor, Z807Come ye sons of Art: Sound the trumpetCome, ye Sons of Art, Z 323: Strike the ViolDido and AeneasDido and Aeneas 1700Dido and Aeneas Z 626: overtureDido and Aeneas, Z 626: Dido's Lament "When I am laid in earth"Dido and Aeneas, Z 626: Oft she visits this lov'd mountainDido and Aeneas: Ah! BelindaDido and Aeneas: Witches DuetDioclesian, Z 627: Oh, the sweet delights of loveDioclesian: Two upon a groundFantasies: variousFantasy upon One Note for 5 viols in F major, Z 745Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z.328Harpsichord Suite no. 1 in G major, Z 660If music be the food of love, Z 379King ArthurKing Arthur Z 628: ChaconneKing Arthur Z 628: What power art thou?King Arthur, Z 628: suiteLet each gallant heart, Z390Lord, What is Man? Z 192Lost is my quiet foreverMark how readily each pliant stringMy Heart is InditingNo, resistance is but vain Z601O Solitude, Z 406Ode for St Cecilia's Day: Raise, raise the voiceOedipus: Music for a While, Z 583 no.2Rejoice in the Lord Alway, "The Bell Anthem", Z 49Sonata in G minor, in 3 parts, Z 790Sonata no. 6 in G minor "Chaconne", in four parts, Z 807Sweeter than roses, Z 585Te Deum in D major, Z 232The Fairy Queen Z 629: excerptsThe Fairy Queen, Z 629: Dance for Chinese man and womanThe Fairy Queen, Z 629: chaconneThe Fairy Queen, Z 629: suiteThe Fairy Queen, Z 629:The PlaintThe Gordian Knot Unty'd, Z 597: suiteThe Indian Queen, Z 630: They tell us that you mighty pow'rs aboveThe Married Beau Suite Z603The Prophetess, Z 627: Two in One upon a GroundWelcome to all the Pleasures, Ode for St Cecilia's Day (1683), Z 339