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From catches and ballads to a collection of lessons, Donald Macleod takes a look at how the emergence of publishing was crucial to the growing popularity of Henry Purcell's music.

BBC Radio 3 explores the music of Henry Purcell, the composer who changed the face of English music at the end of the seventeenth century. As a royal composer, Purcell provided music for important state occasions, for the Chapel Royal and for Westminster Abbey, but in this programme presenter Donald Macleod explores a different side to the composer. After a rehearsal or concert, Purcell and his fellow musicians would adjourn to The Two Golden Balls pub in Bow Street, sharing a bowl of brandy punch and singing some of the lewd catches and ballads the composer wrote for such occasions. As Purcell's fame grew due to his royal connections, these catches and ballads as well as sacred songs and lessons for budding harpsichordists, were published by John Playford from his shop in the porch of Temple Church. And even though he was paid by the Chapel Royal as well as his post as organist at Westminster Abbey, publishing songs was a welcome addition to his income. Macleod also explores some of the other ways Purcell made extra money on the side, from adjudicating the so-called 'organ wars' to ticket-touting for gallery seats in William and Mary's coronation.

Henry Purcell: I gave her Cakes and I gave her Ale
The Merry Companions

Henry Purcell: A Suite of Lessons, z665
Robert Woolley (harpsichord)

Henry Purcell: Voluntary in D minor, z718
Davitt Moroney (organ)

Henry Purcell: Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, The English Concert, Francis Grier (organ), Simon Preston (conductor)

Henry Purcell: My Lady's Coachman John; As Roger last night to Jenny lay close; Come, Come, Let us Drink
The Merry Companions, The Baltimore Companions

Henry Purcell: Music for a While and Sweeter than Roses
Andreas Scholl (countertenor), Accademia Bizantina, Stefano Montanari (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Incidental Music for Abdelazer
The Parley of Instruments, Peter Holman (director)

Henry Purcell: A Pastoral Elegy on the Death of Mr John Playford
Susan Gritton (soprano), Michael George (bass), The King's Consort.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Henry Purcell

    I gave her cakes and I gave her ale Z.256

    Ensemble: The Merry Companions.
    • DORIAN : DOR-90155.
    • DORIAN.
    • 3.
  • Henry Purcell

    Suite in C major Z.665

    Performer: Robert Woolley.
    • SAGA : SCD-9009/10.
    • SAGA.
  • Henry Purcell

    Voluntary in D minor Z.718

    Performer: Davitt Moroney.
    • ARCANA: A10ARC.
    • ARCANA.
    • 4.
  • Henry Purcell

    Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem Z.46

    Performer: The English Concert. Performer: Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Choir. Conductor: Simon Preston.
    • ARCHIV : 427-124.
    • ARCHIV.
  • Henry Purcell

    My lady's coachman, John Z.260

    Ensemble: The Merry Companions.
    • DORIAN : DOR-90155.
    • DORIAN.
    • 13.
  • Henry Purcell

    As Roger Last Night To Young Jenny Lay Close Z242

    Performer: Baltimore Companions.
    • DORIAN : DOR-90155.
    • DORIAN.
    • 21.
  • Henry Purcell

    Music for a While

    Performer: Stefano Montanari. Singer: Andreas Scholl. Ensemble: Accademia Bizantina.
    • DECCA : 478-226 2.
    • DECCA.
    • 13.
  • Henry Purcell

    Sweeter than roses

    Singer: Andreas Scholl. Ensemble: Accademia Bizantina. Conductor: Stefano Montanari.
    • Decca : 4782262.
    • Decca.
    • 9.
  • Henry Purcell

    Abdelazer, or The Moor's revenge Z.570

    Orchestra: Parley of Instruments. Director: Peter Holman.
    • Hyperion : CDA66212.
    • Hyperion.
    • 1.
  • Henry Purcell

    A Pastoral Elegy on the Death of Mr John Playford

    Singer: Susan Gritton. Singer: George Michael. Ensemble: King's Consort.
    • HYPERION : CDA-66720.
    • HYPERION.
    • 1.

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