Title: Henry Purcell
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, United Kingdom
Publication Date: 1995
Book Condition: Near Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good+
Edition: First Edition
256 pp. including 103 illustrations, 13 in colour. A catalogue of Purcell's works, select discography, select reading list, sources of illustrations. Clean. Bookseller Inventory # 006187
Synopsis: The death of Henry Purcell in November 1695, aged 36, was one of the great losses in musical history. He was one of England's most original and brilliant composers, and his equal would never come again. Of Purcell the man very little is known. His personality has to be reconstructed through the age in which in which he lived, the circumstances of his professional life, the men and women who knew him, and above all through his music. It is here that Robert King has a unique advantage. As one of Britain's leading baroque conductors and director of The King's Consort, he has a long experience in performing Purcell. His fascination for Purcell's music began when he was a 12-year old chorister: he is now regarded as one of the world's leading experts on this remarkable composer. Purcell's genius was recognised early. He became a "Child of the Chapel Royal" when he was only eight or nine years old, and a court musician when he was eighteen, and was thereafter at the centre of London's musical scene. His career spanned three reigns: Charles II, James II and William and Mary. Each had its own exciting demands, and Purcell produced an endless stream of odes, anthems, ceremonial music and songs. In addition to his official duties, he also wrote a vast amount of music for the theatre, including semi-operas like The Fairy Queen and King Arthur, as well as England's first true opera, Dido and Aeneas. Robert King weaves a narrative, bringing together politics (always in the forefront of Purcell's fortunes), religion, society and the theatre. Relating all this to the state of music at the time - instruments, techniques, foreign influences, formal innovations - he has produced a portrait of Henry Purcell to herald the tercentenary.
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