Henry Purcell Biography, Songs, & Albums |

Henry Purcell was a British composer who is best known for his compositions of “Dido’s Lament”, “The Messiah” and “Rule, Britannia!”. He wrote sacred music as well as chamber, opera and oratorio.

Henry Purcell was a British composer of music for the theatre. His most famous work is Dido and Aeneas, considered by many to be the best opera ever written.

Henry Purcell was called the “Orpheus Britannicus” for his ability to blend pungent English counterpoint with expressive, fluid, and dramatic word settings as England’s finest Baroque composer. While he composed instrumental music, such as the famous viol fantasias, the overwhelming bulk of his work was for vocal and choral groups. Dido and Aeneas, his sole opera, revealed his absolute command of the work’s wide expressive canvas, which featured energetic dance sequences, impassioned arias, and boisterous choruses. Purcell also composed a lot of incidental music for theatrical plays, notably King Arthur by Dryden. Many anthems, devotional songs, and other holy works are among his church music, although there are few pieces for Anglican liturgies.

Henry Purcell, master of choristers at Westminster Abbey, and his wife Elizabeth had Purcell in 1659. His father died when he was five years old, causing his mother to relocate the family of six children to a more humble home and way of life. Purcell joined the Chapel Royal Choristers in 1668, learning under chorus master Henry Cooke. He also presumably studied with John Blow and Matthew Locke, and received piano instruction from Christopher Gibbons, son of composer Orlando Gibbons. Purcell was named assistant to the royal instrument keeper, John Hingeston, in 1673.

Purcell was appointed composer-in-ordinary for the violins by the Court on September 10, 1677. Many of his ecclesiastical works are thought to date from this period. Purcell, by his late teens, had established himself as a renowned keyboard virtuoso, replacing Blow as organist at Westminster Abbey, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. In the same year, John Playford’s Choice Ayres and Songs to Sing to the Theorbo-lute or Bass-viol published five of the young composer’s songs. He started composing anthems with string accompaniment about the same time, producing over a dozen by 1685, as well as welcome songs. In the summer of 1682, Purcell was named one of three organists at the Chapel Royal, his most prestigious position to date.

In 1683, Purcell wrote his first ode on St. Cecilia’s Day. Following Hingeston’s death the following month, he was appointed royal instrument keeper while keeping his other positions. In the middle of the decade, the composer continued to write a lot of music, mostly for royal events. The new King, James II, made numerous changes at Court in 1685, including appointing Purcell as Court harpsichordist and Blow as Court composer. When Queen Mary’s pregnancy was revealed towards the end of 1687, Purcell was commissioned to write an anthem based on Psalm 128, Blessed are those who fear the Lord. Many more of his anthems, including one of his most renowned for church usage, O sing unto the Lord, were published in 1688.

Purcell maintained his position as royal instrument keeper after William and Mary’s accession to the throne on April 11, 1689, and he, along with Blow and Alexander Damazene, shared the responsibilities of Court composers. He was free to explore other possibilities when his royal responsibilities were decreased, such as teaching and writing for other organizations. Purcell’s staging of Dido and Aeneas in 1689 was one of his most successful works. In 1691, he worked with John Dryden on King Arthur, and in 1692, he wrote the music for The Fairy-Queen, based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both of which were critically acclaimed. Purcell was very active in his last year of life, composing a great deal for the theatre, notably The Indian Queen, which he left unfinished when he died on November 21, 1695.

Henry Purcell was an English composer, one of the most celebrated composers in British history. He is best known for his operas Dido and Aeneas and King Arthur. Reference: henry purcell cause of death.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was Henry Purcell most known for?

Henry Purcell is most known for his compositions of Baroque opera.

Where did Henry Purcell learn about music?

Henry Purcell is a composer from the early 18th century. He was born in England and learned about music from his father, who was a musician.

What was Henry Purcell influenced by?

Henry Purcell was heavily influenced by the Baroque era, which is a period of time that lasted from about 1630 to 1760.

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