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Composer: Purcell, Henry (1659-1695)

April 2019
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Upcoming eventsSee more...

StockholmRecital

Recital
Brahms, Ravel, Schubert, Falla, Purcell, Korngold
Francine Vis; Magnus Svensson; Matthew Rose

LondonVivaldi Four Seasons by Candlelight

Vivaldi Four Seasons by Candlelight
Mozart, Pachelbel, Purcell, Vivaldi
Brandenburg Sinfonia; Benjamin Giddens

GhentTe Deum

Charpentier, Purcell
B'Rock Orchestra; Lionel Meunier; Vox Luminis

GroningenTe Deum

Charpentier, Purcell
B'Rock Orchestra; Lionel Meunier; Vox Luminis

BrugesDiscover the original behind the Eurovision tunes

Charpentier, Purcell
B'Rock Orchestra; Lionel Meunier; Vox Luminis
Latest reviewsSee more...

Baroque brilliance brought to life by Richard Egarr

Richard Egarr © Marco Borggreve
This concert of Purcell and Handel was as theatrically engaging as anything you'd find in an opera house.
*****
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Dido and Aeneas and Trouble in Tahiti at RCS

Dido and Aeneas © Robbie McFadzean

In the unlikeliest of pairings at RCS, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas finds resonance with Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, delivered with spirited commitment.

****1
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Thrilling King Arthur from the Gabrieli Consort in Adelaide

Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort © Andy Staples

With marvellous cohesion, life and wit the Gabrieli Consort and Players, sponsored by State Opera of South Australia, who thrilled Adelaide audiences with their presentation of English Baroque. 

****1
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Norrington and LPO provide emotion and insight in Dido and Aeneas

Sir Roger Norrington © Manfred Esser
Sir Roger Norrington and a strong cast joined a Baroque-style London Philharmonic Orchestra in a highly accomplished Dido and Aeneas, preceded by Handel’s clean and stately Water Music.
*****
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Dido and Aeneas rescue a disappointing Baroque triple bill from ETO

Nicholas Mogg (Aeneas), Alison Manifold and Sky Ingram (Dido) © Richard Hubert Smith
English Touring Opera's triple bill of early Baroque miniatures promised an intruiging evening but failed up to expectations. 
**111
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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