henry purcell


  • [18] In 1690 he composed a setting of the birthday ode for Queen Mary, Arise, my muse[24] and four years later wrote one of his most elaborate, important and magnificent works
    – a setting for another birthday ode for the Queen, written by Nahum Tate, entitled Come Ye Sons of Art.

  • [17] During the early part of 1679, he produced two important works for the stage, the music for Nathaniel Lee’s Theodosius, and Thomas d’Urfey’s Virtuous Wife.

  • Daniel Purcell,[6] the youngest of the brothers, was also a prolific composer who wrote the music for much of the final act of The Indian Queen after his brother Henry’s death.

  • In this year, Purcell also composed a march and passepied called Quick-step, which became so popular that Lord Wharton adapted the latter to the fatal verses of Lillibullero;
    and in or before January 1688, Purcell composed his anthem Blessed are they that fear the Lord by the express command of the King.

  • [7] Career[edit] Purcell is said to have been composing at nine years old, but the earliest work that can be certainly identified as his is an ode for the King’s birthday,
    written in 1670, when he was eleven.

  • [27] The Indian Queen followed in 1695, in which year he also wrote songs for Dryden and Davenant’s version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest (recently, this has been disputed
    by music scholars[28]), probably including “Full fathom five” and “Come unto these yellow sands”.

  • [20][21] For some years after this, he was busy in the production of sacred music, odes addressed to the king and royal family, and other similar works.

  • Croft preserved Purcell’s setting of “Thou knowest Lord” (Z 58) in his service, for reasons “obvious to any artist”; it has been sung at every British state funeral ever since.

  • Legacy Notable compositions[edit] Main article: List of compositions by Henry Purcell Purcell worked in many genres, both in works closely linked to the court, such as symphony
    song, to the Chapel Royal, such as the symphony anthem, and the theatre.

  • [51] The 1995 film, England, My England, tells the story of an actor who is himself writing a play about Purcell’s life and music, and features many of his compositions.

  • Generally considered among the greatest English opera composers,[4] Purcell is often linked with John Dunstaple and William Byrd as England’s most important early music composers.

  • “[39] Purcell also had a strong influence on the composers of the English musical renaissance of the early 20th century, most notably Benjamin Britten, who arranged many of
    Purcell’s vocal works for voice(s) and piano in Britten’s Purcell Realizations, including from Dido and Aeneas, and whose The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is based on a theme from Purcell’s Abdelazar.

  • The so-called Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary was in fact written around 1700 by a British composer named Jeremiah Clarke as the Prince of Denmark’s March.

  • In 1691, he wrote the music for what is sometimes considered his dramatic masterpiece, King Arthur, or The British Worthy .

  • [10] The composer Matthew Locke was a family friend and, particularly with his semi-operas, probably also had a musical influence on the young Purcell.

  • In gratitude for the providential escape of King Charles II from shipwreck, Gostling, who had been of the royal party, put together some verses from the Psalms in the form
    of an anthem and requested Purcell to set them to music.

  • [38] More recently, the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a famous sonnet entitled simply “Henry Purcell”, with a headnote reading: “The poet wishes well to the divine
    genius of Purcell and praises him that, whereas other musicians have given utterance to the moods of man’s mind, he has, beyond that, uttered in notes the very make and species of man as created both in him and in all men generally.

  • [15] In the final six years of his life, Purcell wrote music for forty-two plays.

  • [15] His wife Frances died in 1706, having published a number of her husband’s works, including the now-famous collection called Orpheus Britannicus,[6] in two volumes, printed
    in 1698 and 1702, respectively.

  • 628), a semi-opera in five acts with music by Purcell and a libretto by John Dryden) is featured in The Crown.

  • [13] Purcell’s manuscript copy of When on my sick bed I languish (c. 1680) In 1679, he wrote songs for John Playford’s Choice Ayres, Songs and Dialogues and an anthem, the
    name of which is unknown, for the Chapel Royal.

  • After his death, Purcell was honoured by many of his contemporaries, including his old friend John Blow, who wrote An Ode, on the Death of Mr. Henry Purcell (Mark how the
    lark and linnet sing) with text by his old collaborator, John Dryden.

  • A few months later, he wrote the music for D’Urfey’s play, The Fool’s Preferment.

  • He had probably written his two important stage works before taking up his new office.

  • [12] It is assumed that the three-part song Sweet tyranness, I now resign was written by him as a child.

  • Life and work Early life[edit] Engraved portrait of Purcell by R. White after Closterman, from Orpheus Britannicus Purcell was born in St Ann’s Lane, Old Pye Street, Westminster
    – the area of London later known as Devil’s Acre, a notorious slum – in 1659.

  • Stylistically, the aria “I know a bank” from Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream is clearly inspired by Purcell’s aria “Sweeter than Roses”, which Purcell originally
    wrote as part of incidental music to Richard Norton’s Pausanias, the Betrayer of His Country.

  • [14] The composition of his chamber opera Dido and Aeneas, which forms a very important landmark in the history of English dramatic music, has been attributed to this period,
    and its earliest production may well have predated the documented one of 1689.

  • William Croft’s 1724 setting for the Burial Service was written in the style of “the great Master”.

  • [15] Purcell now devoted himself almost entirely to the composition of sacred music, and for six years severed his connection with the theatre.

  • At the time, Dido and Aeneas never found its way to the theatre, though it appears to have been very popular in private circles.

  • [22][23] In 1685, he wrote two of his finest anthems, I was glad and My heart is inditing, for the coronation of King James II.

  • The 2012 film Moonrise Kingdom contains Benjamin Britten’s version of the Rondeau in Purcell’s Abdelazar created for his 1946 The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

  • [6] Between 1680 and 1688 Purcell wrote music for seven plays.

  • [30] Besides the operas and semi-operas already mentioned, Purcell wrote the music and songs for Thomas d’Urfey’s The Comical History of Don Quixote, Bonduca, The Indian Queen
    and others, a vast quantity of sacred music, and numerous odes, cantatas, and other miscellaneous pieces.

  • Purcell also composed for five other plays within the same year.

  • [25] 17th-century etching of Purcell In 1687, he resumed his connection with the theatre by furnishing the music for John Dryden’s tragedy Tyrannick Love.

  • It is believed to have been extensively copied, but only one song was printed by Purcell’s widow in Orpheus Britannicus, and the complete work remained in manuscript until
    1840 when it was printed by the Musical Antiquarian Society under the editorship of Sir George Macfarren.

  • I, Henry Purcell, of the City of Westminster, gentleman, being dangerously ill as to the constitution of my body, but in good and perfect mind and memory (thanks be to God)
    do by these presents publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament.

  • [6] The composition of Dido and Aeneas gave Purcell his first chance to write a sustained musical setting of a dramatic text.

  • [31] In 1693, Purcell composed music for two comedies: The Old Bachelor, and The Double Dealer.


Works Cited

[‘The contemporary pronunciation was always with the stress on the first syllable.[1][2] The stress on the second syllable is sometimes heard today, as mentioned by the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary,[3] but this and the Oxford Companion to music emphasize
that stress on the first syllable is the standard pronunciation in both the UK and North America. The stress on the second syllable is so rare that some English dictionaries do not even mention it, for example the Collins English Dictionary and the
Oxford Learner’s Dictionary.
2. ^ During Purcell’s lifetime the United Kingdom observed the Julian calendar. According to Holman & Thompson (2001) there is uncertainty regarding the year and day of birth. No record of baptism has been found. The
year 1659 is based on Purcell’s memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey and the frontispiece of his Sonnata’s of III. Parts (London, 1683). The day 10 September is based on vague inscriptions in the manuscript GB-Cfm 88. It may also be relevant that
he was appointed to his first salaried post on 10 September 1677, which would have been his eighteenth birthday.
3. ^ Often miscited as Dean’s Yard; Frederick Bridge in his brief biography of 1920, Twelve Good Composers, uses rental information/rate
sheets to clear this up.
4. On pronouncing Purcell by David Crystal
5. ^ Linguism, Graham Pointon -. (13 May 2009). “Henry Purcell – Linguism”. Linguism – Language in a Word.
6. ^ Wells, J. C., Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Harlow, Essex:
Longman. ISBN 0-582-36467-1
7. ^ Jump up to:a b Holman & Thompson 2001.
8. ^ Nagley & Milsom 2011, § para. 3.
9. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l Chisholm 1911.
10. ^ Jump up to:a b Zimmerman 1967, p. 34.
11. ^ Jump up to:a b Westrup
1975, p. 8.
12. ^ Burden 1995a, p. 55.
13. ^ Burden 1995a, p. 58.
14. ^ Zimmerman 1967, p. 29.
15. ^ Charteris, Richard (February 1994). “Newly Discovered Sources of Music by Henry Purcell”. Music & Letters. 75 (1): 16–32. doi:10.1093/ml/75.1.16.
JSTOR 737241. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
16. ^ Zimmerman 1967, p. 65.
17. ^ Jump up to:a b Harris 1987, p. 6.
18. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Runciman 1909.
19. ^ Jump up to:a b Hutchings 1982, p. 54.
20. ^ Harris 1987, p. 11.
21. ^ Jump
up to:a b Hutchings, Arthur. Purcell. (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1982), 85.
22. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 41.
23. ^ “No. 1872”. The London Gazette. 25 October 1683. p. 2.
24. ^ “No. 1874”. The London Gazette. 1 November 1683. p. 2.
Announcements of the publication of Purcell’s Sonata, first for subscribers, then for general purchase
25. ^ “No. 1928”. The London Gazette. 8 May 1684. p. 2.
26. ^ “No. 2001”. The London Gazette. 19 January 1684. p. 2. Announcements of the publication
of Purcell’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, first performed, 22 November 1683
27. ^ Tore Frantzvåg Steenslid (2004). “Arise, my muse”. steenslid.com. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
28. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 77.
29. ^ Jump up to:a b Hutchings 1982, p.
30. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 75.
31. ^ “Henry Purcell – The Tempest, Z.631 (semi-opera)”. classicalarchives.com.
32. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 80.
33. ^ Westrup 1975, pp. 82–83.
34. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 81.
35. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 83.
36. ^ Zimmerman
1967, p. 266.
37. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 85.
38. ^ Zimmerman 1967, p. 267.
39. ^ Westrup 1975, p. 86.
40. ^ Shay, Robert; Thompson, Robert (2006). Purcell Manuscripts: The Principal Musical Sources. p. 137. ISBN 978-0521028110. The distinctive
nature of the symphony song, a genre as closely linked to the court as the symphony anthem was to the Chapel Royal, 16 is underlined by the principal concordance of the longer works in R.M. 20.h.8, Lbl Add. 33287
41. ^ Melvin P. Unger, Historical
Dictionary of Choral Music, Scarecrow Press 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-5751-3 (p.93)
42. ^ International Hopkins Association (2018). “Henry Purcell”. Gerard Manley Hopkins. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
43. ^ Brett, Philip (1990). Britten’s Dream (Brief
essay to accompany the Britten recording). Decca Records.
44. ^ Matthews, P. (2018). London’s Statues and Monuments: Revised Edition. Bloomsbury. p. 128. ISBN 9781784422585.
45. ^ “The Royal Mail celebrate eminent Britons”. The Times. 8 October
2009. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
46. ^ “Purcell Club : a Private Musical Tour of Westminster Abbey”. Anglo-Netherlands Society. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
47. ^ “Virtual Season 2020”. Henry Purcell Society of Boston. 2020.
48. ^ “The Purcell
Society”. The Purcell Society. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
49. ^ Shay, R.; Thompson, R. (2006). Purcell Manuscripts: The Principal Musical Sources. Cambridge University Press. p. xiii. ISBN 9780521028110.
50. ^ Cooper, B. (1978). “Did Purcell
Write a Trumpet Voluntary?–1”. The Musical Times. 119 (1627): 791–793. doi:10.2307/959617. JSTOR 959617.
51. ^ “Jethro Tull Press: Rolling Stone, 30 August 1973”. tullpress.com. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
52. ^ Radio Times, 24–30
October 2009, previewing Baroque and Roll (BBC Radio 4, 27 October 2009).
53. ^ Jim Paterson. “Henry Purcell – an overview of the classical composer”. mfiles.co.uk.
54. ^ Pollock, Dale (27 November 1979). “Kramer Vs. Kramer”. Variety. Retrieved
20 November 2020.
55. ^ Elley, Derek (19 November 1995). “England, My England”. Variety. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
56. ^ Chester Music Ltd (World) (2020). “Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds (The Draughtsman’s Contract) (1982)”. Wise Music
Classical. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
57. ^ Songfacts (2020). “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct by Pet Shop Boys”. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
58. ^ “The Delicate Intensity of Olivia Chaney”. WNYC.
2. Burden, Michael, ed. (1995a). The Purcell
Companion. London: Faber and Faber.
3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Purcell, Henry” . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 658–659.
4. Harris, Ellen T. (1987). Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Oxford: Clarendon
5. Holman, Peter; Thompson, Robert (2001). “Purcell, Henry(ii)”. Grove Music Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.6002278249. ISBN 9781561592630. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
6. Hutchings,
Arthur (1982). Purcell. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.
7. Nagley, Judith; Milsom, John (2011). “Dunstaple, John”. In Latham, Alison (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957903-7.
8. Runciman,
John F. (1909). Purcell. London: George Bell & Sons. OCLC 5690003.
9. Westrup, Jack A. (1975). Purcell. London: Dent & Sons.
10. Zimmerman, Franklin B. (1967). Henry Purcell, 1659–1695, His Life and Times. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nikontino/13509967925/’]