Henry Purcell
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/960x540/p01bqlhk.jpg
1659-09-10
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/ddea5540-2c7d-4266-8507-b367c2635d35
Henry Purcell

Henry Purcell Biography (BBC)

Born in London in 1659, Henry Purcell was the son of a musician in the retinue of Charles II, and it was royal service that was largely to be his world as well. By the time he was 10 he was a chorister at the Chapel Royal, and in 1673, when his voice broke, he became for a while an unpaid assistant to the keeper of the king’s instruments.

His first formal royal appointment came in 1677, when he was created composer-in-ordinary for the violins (in succession to Matthew Locke), and in 1682 he was appointed as one of the organists at the Chapel Royal. In between, he had also become organist of Westminster Abbey (in succession to his teacher and friend, John Blow).

The last years of Charles’s reign were when Purcell composed the bulk of his outstanding output of English church music, culminating in the superb anthems he supplied for the coronation of Charles’s successor, James II, in 1685. His court connections were also responsible for the numerous odes he composed for royal occasions such as birthdays and homecomings, an unpromising genre that he managed to raise to unwonted heights.

The 1680s also saw him beginning to write for the theatre, contributing songs and instrumental pieces to plays by such distinguished Restoration dramatists as Dryden, Congreve and D’Urfey. But it was in 1690 that his theatrical career really took off with the success of Dioclesian, his first venture into the peculiarly English genre of the time, known today as ‘semi-opera’, in which music is mixed with speech. This was followed over the next few years by three works – King Arthur (with words by Dryden); The Fairy Queen (loosely based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream); and The Indian Queen (words again by Dryden) – all written in a similar style.

It is not clear for what purpose Purcell wrote his only through-composed opera, Dido and Aeneas; its first known performance was by pupils at a girls’ boarding school in Chelsea in 1689, but it may have been first produced as a court entertainment some years earlier.

Purcell occupies a central position in British music. More than 300 years after his death he is still arguably the country’s greatest composer, and his music continues to provide successors with both inspiration and a point of cultural identification. Apparent in his church music, stage works and solo songs alike are an exquisite talent for English word-setting, a gift for attractive melody and a capacity for searing expressiveness that have attracted commendation from his own time to ours; he was acclaimed in his own day as ‘the English Orpheus’ and Holst, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Tippett were among his greatest 20th-century admirers. His untimely death at the age of 36 left Britain without a native composer of genius until the arrival of Elgar two centuries later.

Profile © Lindsay Kemp

Henry Purcell Biography (Wikipedia)

Henry Purcell (c. 10 September 1659 – 21 November 1695) was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no later native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, William Walton and Benjamin Britten in the 20th century.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Henry Purcell Performances & Interviews


Henry Purcell Tracks

Henry Purcell
Come, ye sons of Art, away (Ode for the birthday of Queen Mary (1694), Z323)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Come, ye sons of Art, away (Ode for the birthday of Queen Mary (1694), Z323)

Come, ye sons of Art, away (Ode for the birthday of Queen Mary (1694), Z323)

Singer
Anna Mikolajczyk
Henning Voss
Robert Lawaty
Miroslaw Borczynski
Choir
Sine Nomine Chamber Choir
Orchestra
Concerto Polacco Baroque Orchestra

Sort by

Henry Purcell
Fantasia upon one note, Z745
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantasia upon one note, Z745
Henry Purcell
Tell me, some pitying angel, Z196
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Tell me, some pitying angel, Z196
Henry Purcell
Sonata No 6 in G minor, Z807
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Sonata No 6 in G minor, Z807
Henry Purcell
She loves and she confesses too, Z413
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
She loves and she confesses too, Z413
Henry Purcell
I take no pleasure in the sun's bright beams, Z388
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
I take no pleasure in the sun's bright beams, Z388
Henry Purcell
I resolve against cringing and whining, Z386
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
I resolve against cringing and whining, Z386
Henry Purcell
O! Fair Cedaria, hide those eyes, Z402
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
O! Fair Cedaria, hide those eyes, Z402
Henry Purcell
Sonata No 7 in E minor, Z796
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Sonata No 7 in E minor, Z796
Henry Purcell
Suite No 7 in D minor, Z668
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Suite No 7 in D minor, Z668
Henry Purcell
Overture in G, Z770
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Overture in G, Z770
Henry Purcell
Since the Duke is return'd, Z271
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Since the Duke is return'd, Z271
Henry Purcell
Fantasia and Two Pavans: Pavan in A major
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantasia and Two Pavans: Pavan in A major
Henry Purcell
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act IV, extract)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act IV, extract)
Henry Purcell
Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328 (Symphony)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328 (Symphony)
Henry Purcell
Ye tuneful Muses, Z344 (extracts)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Ye tuneful Muses, Z344 (extracts)
Henry Purcell
Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49 (Bell anthem)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49 (Bell anthem)
Henry Purcell
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 3, Symphony while the swans come forward)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 3, Symphony while the swans come forward)
Henry Purcell
Who can from joy refrain, Z342 (If he now burns with noble flame)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Who can from joy refrain, Z342 (If he now burns with noble flame)
Henry Purcell
Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333
Henry Purcell
They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57

They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57

Singer
Matthew Bright
David Thomas
Choir
Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Choir
Conductor
Henry Purcell
Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
Henry Purcell
Funeral Sentences (extracts)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Funeral Sentences (extracts)
Henry Purcell
March, Z860
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
March, Z860
Henry Purcell
Of All the instruments that are, Z.263
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Of All the instruments that are, Z.263
Henry Purcell
Sonata in D major for trumpet, strings and continuo
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Sonata in D major for trumpet, strings and continuo
Henry Purcell
Fantazia XI in G major, Z742
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia XI in G major, Z742
Henry Purcell
Fantazia X in E minor, Z741
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia X in E minor, Z741
Henry Purcell
Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king, Z340
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king, Z340
Henry Purcell
Fantazia VI in F major, Z737
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia VI in F major, Z737
Henry Purcell
Fantazia VIII in D minor, Z739
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia VIII in D minor, Z739
Henry Purcell
Theodosius, Z606: Act I, Scene 1
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Theodosius, Z606: Act I, Scene 1
Henry Purcell
Fantazia V in B flat major, Z736
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia V in B flat major, Z736
Henry Purcell
Fantazia IV in G minor, Z735
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantazia IV in G minor, Z735
Henry Purcell
Theodosius, Z606 (Hail to the myrtle shade)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Theodosius, Z606 (Hail to the myrtle shade)
Henry Purcell
Hear My Prayer, O Lord, Z.15
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Hear My Prayer, O Lord, Z.15
Henry Purcell
Trio Sonata No. 9 in C Minor, Z. 798
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Trio Sonata No. 9 in C Minor, Z. 798
Henry Purcell
Thou knowest, Lord, Z58c
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Thou knowest, Lord, Z58c
Henry Purcell
The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act III, extract)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act III, extract)
Henry Purcell
I was glad, Z19
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
I was glad, Z19
Henry Purcell
Chacony in G minor, Z730
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Chacony in G minor, Z730
Henry Purcell
Sound the trumpet (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Sound the trumpet (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
Henry Purcell
Dido's Lament
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Dido's Lament

Dido's Lament

Ensemble
Babelfish
Singer
Brigette Beraha.
Henry Purcell
Fantasia: 'Three parts upon a ground'
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Fantasia: 'Three parts upon a ground'
Henry Purcell
O solitude, my sweetest choice, Z406
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
O solitude, my sweetest choice, Z406
Henry Purcell
Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z15
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z15
Henry Purcell
When I am laid in earth & Final Chorus (Dido and Aeneas)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
When I am laid in earth & Final Chorus (Dido and Aeneas)
Henry Purcell
King Arthur (Chaconne)
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
King Arthur (Chaconne)
Henry Purcell
Come ye sons of art away Z.323: See nature, rejoicing, has shown us the way
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/256x256/p01bqlhk.jpg
link
Come ye sons of art away Z.323: See nature, rejoicing, has shown us the way
Load more tracks


Past BBC Events

Proms 2018: Prom 20: Ten Pieces Prom
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ebhz3d
Royal Albert Hall
2018-07-29T05:12:56
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/208x117/p061r7gy.jpg
29
Jul
2018
Proms 2018: Prom 20: Ten Pieces Prom

Proms 2018: Prom 20: Ten Pieces Prom

Royal Albert Hall
Proms 2018: Prom 19: Ten Pieces Prom
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e94wxj
Royal Albert Hall
2018-07-29T05:12:56
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/208x117/p061r7gy.jpg
29
Jul
2018
Proms 2018: Prom 19: Ten Pieces Prom

Proms 2018: Prom 19: Ten Pieces Prom

Royal Albert Hall

Latest Henry Purcell News

    Play on! How Shakespeare inspired 400 years of music
    A brief history of music's love for the Bard - in 6 Proms
Back to artist