Henry Purcell

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was an English composer, regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers of his time. Born in London, he displayed musical talent from an early age and, by his mid-teens, was appointed organist at Westminster Abbey. He went on to become the organist for the Chapel Royal, a significant position in English musical life. Purcell’s oeuvre spans a wide range of genres, including sacred and secular choral music, songs, operas, and instrumental works.

His opera “Dido and Aeneas” is considered a masterpiece of Baroque opera and contains the famous aria “When I am laid in earth.” Besides his operatic achievements, Purcell was known for his anthems and hymns, which often featured in royal ceremonies. He was also pivotal in the development of the English oratorio, with notable works such as “O Sing unto the Lord” and “Come, Ye Sons of Art.”

Though he lived a relatively short life, dying at the age of 36, Purcell’s influence on English music was profound. He bridged the gap between the older English choral tradition and the more continental styles of his day, paving the way for future British composers.

Recordings on Musica Ficta

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