Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Episodes

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London Calling2017091920180828 (R3)

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. For most of his life, as a chorister, organist and composer, Purcell served the Royal Music during the reigns of Charles II, James II and Williams and Mary. He never left the capital but the influences of European musical styles that came into fashion during the various reigns played a huge part in Purcell's development as a composer. The newly-crowned Charles II was a Francophile and expanded the royal violin band to 24 players, inspired by Louis XIV's '24 violons du Roi', which he had heard during his exile at the French court. Later, during James II's short reign, the influence of Italian musicians and Italian musical forms encouraged by his wife, Mary of Modena, became fashionable all over London. Even Dutch musical tastes were to find their way across the channel and into Purcell's music, with William of Orange's insistence on a band of hautboys to supplement the usual trumpets when going to war.
As well as looking at how Purcell's music adapted to the musical and cultural trends, presenter Donald Macleod introduces us to some of the European movers and shakers in the London musical scene.

The Stairre-Case Overture
Musica Amphion
Pieter-Jan Belder, conductor

Seven-part In Nomine
Rose Consorts of Viols

Harpsichord Suite No.7 in D minor
Robert Woolley, harpsichord

Sonata No.9 in F major
Retrospect Trio

Dido and Aeneas, Act 1
Catherine Bott (Dido)
Emma Kirkby (Belinda)
Aeneas (John Mark Ainsley)
Julianne Baird (Second Woman)
Chorus and Orchestra of The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, conductor

Henry Purcell: Symphony from Ode for St Cecilia's Day, 'Hail, Bright Cecilia'
English Chamber Orchestra, Charles Mackerras (conductor).

A look at how Henry Purcell was influenced by music and musicians from all over Europe.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

London Calling20170919A look at how Henry Purcell was influenced by music and musicians from all over Europe.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Orpheus Britannicus2017092120180830 (R3)

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.

Donald Macleod looks at the importance of publishing to the spread of Purcell's music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Orpheus Britannicus20170921Donald Macleod looks at the importance of publishing to the spread of Purcell's music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Sound the Trumpet2017091820180827 (R3)

Donald Macleod explores the music of English composer Henry Purcell who served in the royal courts of Charles II, James II and the joint reign of William and Mary. On the 29th of May, 1660, the flower-strewn streets of London resounded to the cheers of vast crowds and the ringing of all the church bells, welcoming the return of Charles Stuart from exile in France as King Charles II. After the disbanding of the Royal Music during Cromwell's Protectorate, Charles quickly re-established the importance of court music during the Restoration. Henry Purcell became one of the children of the Chapel Royal sometime in the 1660s, where he was surrounded by the best musicians in the land. The king himself took a keen interest in all the court's musical activity, with composers encouraged to write for state events such as the king's birthday and New Year's Day. Purcell was commissioned to write his first ode in his early twenties, to celebrate the return of the king from his summer retreat in Windsor. In this programme, we feature some of the music Purcell wrote for the all monarchs he served including the welcome ode to Charles II, music for the coronation of James II and a birthday ode for Queen Mary.

Henry Purcell: King Arthur, Act 3 Prelude
The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Welcome, Viceregent of the Mighty King Z340
Tragicomedia, Suzi le Blanc (soprano), Barbara Borden (soprano), Belinda Sykes (contralto), Steve Degardin (countertenor), Douglas Nasrawi (tenor), Harvey Brough (tenor), Harry van der Kamp (bass), Simon Grant (bass), Stephen Stubbs and Erin Headley (directors)

Henry Purcell: I was glad when they said unto me
Choir of Westminster Abbey, Harry Bicket (organ), Simon Preston (conductor)

Henry Purcell: The Way of God is an Undefiled Way
The King's Consort, James Bowman (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (high tenor), Michael George (bass), Choir of New College, Oxford, Robert King (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Come Ye Sons of Art (Birthday Ode for Queen Mary II)
Emily van Evera (soprano), Timothy Wilson (countertenor), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), David Thomas (bass), Tavener Consort, Tavener Choir, Tavener Players, Andrew Parrott (conductor).

Donald Macleod explores the music Purcell composed for the monarchs he served.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Sound the Trumpet20170918Donald Macleod explores the music Purcell composed for the monarchs he served.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Take me to Church2017092020180829 (R3)

Presenter Donald Macleod explores the sacred music of Purcell, written in an era of violent religious tensions.
Church services always played a major part in Henry Purcell's daily routine - from an early age he was a chorister in the Chapel Royal, and was later appointed Westminster Abbey's organist at the age of twenty, a post he retained for the rest of his life.
Apart from the singing of simple unaccompanied psalms, music in church had been banned during Cromwell's Protectorate but with the Restoration, Charles II re-established the Chapel Royal as the country's major focus of musical life. Barely out of his teens, the young Purcell seized the opportunity to write the full-blown anthems demanded by Charles for religious festivals. From devotional music written for daily services to the dramatic music for the funeral of Queen Mary, Purcell adapted to the demands of all the monarchs he served. Yet he was equally at home writing simple hymns to be performed at home or in small gatherings, such as those published in 1688 as part of the Harmonia sacra anthology.

Henry Purcell: Voluntary in C, z714
Davitt Moroney (organ)

Henry Purcell: Blow Up the Trumpet in Sion
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, Richard Marlow (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis in B flat
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Harmonia Sacra Selection
A Morning Hymn: Thou wakeful Shepherd, z198
Jill Feldman (soprano), Davitt Moroney (organ)

An Evening Hymn on a Ground: Now that the sun hath veiled his light
Andreas Scholl (countertenor), Accademia Bizantina, Stefano Montanari (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Laudate Ceciliam - from Ode for St Cecilia's Day, z329
James Bowman (countertenor), Mark Padmore (high tenor), Michael George (bass), The King's Consort, Robert King (conductor)

Henry Purcell: Funeral Sentences for the death of Queen Mary
Equale Brass Ensemble, Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor).

Donald Macleod explores the sacred music of English composer Henry Purcell.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Take me to Church20170920Donald Macleod explores the sacred music of English composer Henry Purcell.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

What power art thou2017092220180831 (R3)

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. With the accession of William and Mary in 1689 came swingeing cuts to the Chapel Royal. From being a showcase for the nation's best music, it became a backwater. As a result, Purcell looked elsewhere for employment - and the monarchy's loss became the public's gain, as he devoted much of his last few years writing for the London stage. Even though opera was slow in taking off in England, the theatres in London were doing a roaring trade since opening up their doors again in the early days of the Restoration. Audiences could choose between a huge variety of tragedies and comedies put on by the King's Company at the Theatre Royal or by the Duke of York Players at the Dorset Garden Theatre. The music and character songs larded through the plays were a vital part of the entertainment, and the music was always written by a committee of composers. But such was Purcell's standing and skill as a songwriter that he was given sole control of the music when he got the chance to write his first semi opera, The Prophetess, in 1690. Presenter Donald Macleod looks at some of Purcell's most spectacular semi-operas such as King Arthur and The Fairy Queen, where the songs are sung by minor characters, as well as his only opera, Dido and Aeneas

Incidental Music for The Virtuous Wife, Overture
The Parley of Instruments, Peter Holman (director)

The Fairy Queen, Overture and Act 1
Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano), Judith Nelson (soprano), Elisabeth Priday (soprano), Stephen Varcoe (bass), David Thomas (bass), The Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner (conductor)

King Arthur, Act 3
Nancy Argenta (Cupid), Brian Bannatyne-Scott (Cold Genius), Choir of the English Concert, The English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (conductor)

Dido and Aeneas, Act 3
Catherine Bott (Dido), Emma Kirkby (Belinda), Aeneas (John Mark Ainsley), David Thomas (Sorceress), Elizabeth Priday (First Witch), Sara Stowe (Second Witch), Daniel Lochmann (First Sailor), Chorus and Orchestra of The Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood (conductor).

Donald Macleod explores Henry Purcell's works for the stage.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

What power art thou20170922Donald Macleod explores Henry Purcell's works for the stage.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01A Brief Life20190916

Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, a whistlestop trip through the scanty facts of the composer’s biography.

Frustratingly little is known about the tragically abbreviated life of the composer who is arguably Britain’s greatest, Henry Purcell. Had he been born twenty years earlier, he would have been old enough to figure in Pepys’ Diary, and he might perhaps have been the object of one of the great naval administrator’s typically incisive character sketches. But by the time Purcell was taking his first steps in composition in the 1670s, Pepys had already laid down his quill. Purcell kept no diary of his own – at least none has survived – and if he was active as a letter-writer, precious little of his correspondence has come down to us. Our evidence for the facts of the composer’s life appears in a sequence of glimpses – a portrait here, an anecdote there, unvarnished entries in the official records of the time. We don’t know for certain when or where he was born, or who his father was. We know he married a woman called Frances, who may have been the daughter of a Flemish leather merchant, but we can’t be sure. We know that he had six children, four of whom died in infancy. We know that as a child he survived the Plague and the Great Fire of London, but we have no idea what took his life at the age of barely 36, or what other great masterpieces might have flowed from his pen had he survived to enjoy a more normal span of years.

‘Sound the trumpet’ (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
Andreas Scholl, Christophe Dumaux, countertenors
Accademia Bizantina

Chacony in G minor, Z730
Orchestra of The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, director

‘I was glad’, Z19
Choir of Westminster Abbey
Harry Bicket, organ
Simon Preston, conductor

‘Now does the glorious day appear’, Z332
Julia Gooding, soprano
James Bowman, alto
Howard Crook, tenor
David Wilson-Johnson, Michael George, bass
Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Gustav Leonhardt, conductor

The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act 3, extract)
Stephen Varcoe, baritone (Ismeron)
Martyn Hill, tenor (The God of Dreams)
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

‘Thou knowest, Lord’, Z58c
Winchester Cathedral Choir
London Baroque Brass
David Hill, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, the scanty facts of the composer\u2019s biography.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01A Brief Life20190916Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, a whistlestop trip through the scanty facts of the composer’s biography.

Frustratingly little is known about the tragically abbreviated life of the composer who is arguably Britain’s greatest, Henry Purcell. Had he been born twenty years earlier, he would have been old enough to figure in Pepys’ Diary, and he might perhaps have been the object of one of the great naval administrator’s typically incisive character sketches. But by the time Purcell was taking his first steps in composition in the 1670s, Pepys had already laid down his quill. Purcell kept no diary of his own – at least none has survived – and if he was active as a letter-writer, precious little of his correspondence has come down to us. Our evidence for the facts of the composer’s life appears in a sequence of glimpses – a portrait here, an anecdote there, unvarnished entries in the official records of the time. We don’t know for certain when or where he was born, or who his father was. We know he married a woman called Frances, who may have been the daughter of a Flemish leather merchant, but we can’t be sure. We know that he had six children, four of whom died in infancy. We know that as a child he survived the Plague and the Great Fire of London, but we have no idea what took his life at the age of barely 36, or what other great masterpieces might have flowed from his pen had he survived to enjoy a more normal span of years.

‘Sound the trumpet’ (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
Andreas Scholl, Christophe Dumaux, countertenors
Accademia Bizantina

Chacony in G minor, Z730
Orchestra of The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, director

‘I was glad’, Z19
Choir of Westminster Abbey
Harry Bicket, organ
Simon Preston, conductor

‘Now does the glorious day appear’, Z332
Julia Gooding, soprano
James Bowman, alto
Howard Crook, tenor
David Wilson-Johnson, Michael George, bass
Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Gustav Leonhardt, conductor

The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act 3, extract)
Stephen Varcoe, baritone (Ismeron)
Martyn Hill, tenor (The God of Dreams)
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

‘Thou knowest, Lord’, Z58c
Winchester Cathedral Choir
London Baroque Brass
David Hill, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, the scanty facts of the composer\u2019s biography.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01A Brief Life20190916Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, a whistlestop trip through the scanty facts of the composer’s biography.

Frustratingly little is known about the tragically abbreviated life of the composer who is arguably Britain’s greatest, Henry Purcell. Had he been born twenty years earlier, he would have been old enough to figure in Pepys’ Diary, and he might perhaps have been the object of one of the great naval administrator’s typically incisive character sketches. But by the time Purcell was taking his first steps in composition in the 1670s, Pepys had already laid down his quill. Purcell kept no diary of his own – at least none has survived – and if he was active as a letter-writer, precious little of his correspondence has come down to us. Our evidence for the facts of the composer’s life appears in a sequence of glimpses – a portrait here, an anecdote there, unvarnished entries in the official records of the time. We don’t know for certain when or where he was born, or who his father was. We know he married a woman called Frances, who may have been the daughter of a Flemish leather merchant, but we can’t be sure. We know that he had six children, four of whom died in infancy. We know that as a child he survived the Plague and the Great Fire of London, but we have no idea what took his life at the age of barely 36, or what other great masterpieces might have flowed from his pen had he survived to enjoy a more normal span of years.

‘Sound the trumpet’ (Come ye sons of art, Z323)
Andreas Scholl, Christophe Dumaux, countertenors
Accademia Bizantina

Chacony in G minor, Z730
Orchestra of The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, director

‘I was glad’, Z19
Choir of Westminster Abbey
Harry Bicket, organ
Simon Preston, conductor

‘Now does the glorious day appear’, Z332
Julia Gooding, soprano
James Bowman, alto
Howard Crook, tenor
David Wilson-Johnson, Michael George, bass
Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Gustav Leonhardt, conductor

The Indian Queen, Z630 (Act 3, extract)
Stephen Varcoe, baritone (Ismeron)
Martyn Hill, tenor (The God of Dreams)
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

‘Thou knowest, Lord’, Z58c
Winchester Cathedral Choir
London Baroque Brass
David Hill, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, the scanty facts of the composer's biography.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01Purcell's London20160425
01Purcell's London20160425Donald Macleod on how the aftermath of the English Civil War set stiff tests for Purcell.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Purcell and Fashion20160426
02Purcell and Fashion20160426Donald explains how Purcell tailored his music to varied contemporary styles.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Watershed Year20190917

Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today the focus is on a single year, 1680, in which Purcell emerged as one of the greatest contrapuntists of his time.

1680 was a year of firsts for Purcell – he wrote his first music for stage, fulfilled his first commission for a royal ‘welcome’ ode, took his first (and only) wife, and made his first foray into the world of chamber music, with a sequence of nine fantazias of such dazzling contrapuntal ingenuity and brilliance – not to mention expressive maturity – that you have to marvel at how a composer of just 20 could have possibly pulled off such a dazzling feat.

Theodosius, Z606 (‘Hail to the myrtle shade’)
Judith Nelson, soprano
James Bowman, countertenor
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, director

Fantazia IV in G minor, Z735
Fantazia V in B flat major, Z736
London Baroque

Theodosius, Z606 (Act 1, scene 1)
Emma Kirkby, Judith Nelson, sopranos
James Bowman, countertenor
Martyn Hill, tenor
David Thomas, bass
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, director

Fantazia VIII in D minor, Z739
Fantazia VI in F major, Z737
Fretwork

‘Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king’, Z340
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, conductor

Fantazia X in E minor, Z741
Fantazia XI in G major, Z742
Ricercare Consort
Philippe Pierlot, director

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today the focus is on a single remarkable year, 1680.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Watershed Year20190917Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today the focus is on a single year, 1680, in which Purcell emerged as one of the greatest contrapuntists of his time.

1680 was a year of firsts for Purcell – he wrote his first music for stage, fulfilled his first commission for a royal ‘welcome’ ode, took his first (and only) wife, and made his first foray into the world of chamber music, with a sequence of nine fantazias of such dazzling contrapuntal ingenuity and brilliance – not to mention expressive maturity – that you have to marvel at how a composer of just 20 could have possibly pulled off such a dazzling feat.

Theodosius, Z606 (‘Hail to the myrtle shade’)
Judith Nelson, soprano
James Bowman, countertenor
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, director

Fantazia IV in G minor, Z735
Fantazia V in B flat major, Z736
London Baroque

Theodosius, Z606 (Act 1, scene 1)
Emma Kirkby, Judith Nelson, sopranos
James Bowman, countertenor
Martyn Hill, tenor
David Thomas, bass
The Academy of Ancient Music
Christopher Hogwood, director

Fantazia VIII in D minor, Z739
Fantazia VI in F major, Z737
Fretwork

‘Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king’, Z340
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, conductor

Fantazia X in E minor, Z741
Fantazia XI in G major, Z742
Ricercare Consort
Philippe Pierlot, director

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today the focus is on a single remarkable year, 1680.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Music for Occasions20190918

Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events, from King Charles’ escape from shipwreck to the passing of Queen Mary.

Given that so little is known about Purcell’s life, it’s gratifying that a fair number of his compositions can be pinned to particular occasions. Many of these were commissions, like the two Cecilian Odes he wrote for The Musical Society in 1683 and 1692, or the sequence of royal ‘welcome’ odes that began in 1680 with ‘Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king’ and ended with ‘Who can from joy refrain’, Purcell’s ode celebrating the sixth birthday of Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, which he wrote in 1695, the year before his death. ‘They that go down to the sea in ships’ was written after the event it commemorates – the narrow escape of the king and his yachting party when a nasty storm blew up around the North Foreland off the Isle of Thanet; having narrowly survived its maiden voyage, the king’s new yacht, ‘Fubbs’, remained in service for the best part of a century. Occasional music can easily lapse into obscurity after the occasion it was designed for is over – a fate that certainly hasn’t befallen the music Purcell provided for the funeral of Queen Mary, whose stark grandeur achieves a kind of universal expression of grief. Grief runs through Purcell’s early Funeral Sentences, which were probably written when he was still a chorister at the Chapel Royal. It’s not known whose death they commemorate – perhaps that of one of his musical mentors.

March, Z860
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Funeral Sentences (Man that is born of a woman, Z27 – In the midst of life, Z17 – Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts, Z58b)
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
Emily van Evera, soprano
Timothy Wilson, countertenor
John Mark Ainsley, Charles Daniels, tenor
David Thomas, bass
Taverner Consort, Choir & Players
Andrew Parrott, direction

They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57
Matthew Bright, alto
David Thomas, bass
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The English Concert
Simon Preston, conductor

Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333 (‘The bashful Thames, for beauty so renowned’ – ‘So when the glitt’ring Queen of Night’)
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock, conductor

Who can from joy refrain, Z342 (‘If he now burns with noble flame’)
Gillian Fisher, Tessa Bonner, soprano
The King’s Consort
Robert King, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Music For Occasions20190918Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events, from King Charles’ escape from shipwreck to the passing of Queen Mary.

Given that so little is known about Purcell’s life, it’s gratifying that a fair number of his compositions can be pinned to particular occasions. Many of these were commissions, like the two Cecilian Odes he wrote for The Musical Society in 1683 and 1692, or the sequence of royal ‘welcome’ odes that began in 1680 with ‘Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king’ and ended with ‘Who can from joy refrain’, Purcell’s ode celebrating the sixth birthday of Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, which he wrote in 1695, the year before his death. ‘They that go down to the sea in ships’ was written after the event it commemorates – the narrow escape of the king and his yachting party when a nasty storm blew up around the North Foreland off the Isle of Thanet; having narrowly survived its maiden voyage, the king’s new yacht, ‘Fubbs’, remained in service for the best part of a century. Occasional music can easily lapse into obscurity after the occasion it was designed for is over – a fate that certainly hasn’t befallen the music Purcell provided for the funeral of Queen Mary, whose stark grandeur achieves a kind of universal expression of grief. Grief runs through Purcell’s early Funeral Sentences, which were probably written when he was still a chorister at the Chapel Royal. It’s not known whose death they commemorate – perhaps that of one of his musical mentors.

March, Z860
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Funeral Sentences (Man that is born of a woman, Z27 – In the midst of life, Z17 – Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts, Z58b)
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
Emily van Evera, soprano
Timothy Wilson, countertenor
John Mark Ainsley, Charles Daniels, tenor
David Thomas, bass
Taverner Consort, Choir & Players
Andrew Parrott, direction

They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57
Matthew Bright, alto
David Thomas, bass
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The English Concert
Simon Preston, conductor

Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333 (‘The bashful Thames, for beauty so renowned’ – ‘So when the glitt’ring Queen of Night’)
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock, conductor

Who can from joy refrain, Z342 (‘If he now burns with noble flame’)
Gillian Fisher, Tessa Bonner, soprano
The King’s Consort
Robert King, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Music for Occasions20190918Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events, from King Charles’ escape from shipwreck to the passing of Queen Mary.

Given that so little is known about Purcell’s life, it’s gratifying that a fair number of his compositions can be pinned to particular occasions. Many of these were commissions, like the two Cecilian Odes he wrote for The Musical Society in 1683 and 1692, or the sequence of royal ‘welcome’ odes that began in 1680 with ‘Welcome, vicegerent of the mighty king’ and ended with ‘Who can from joy refrain’, Purcell’s ode celebrating the sixth birthday of Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, which he wrote in 1695, the year before his death. ‘They that go down to the sea in ships’ was written after the event it commemorates – the narrow escape of the king and his yachting party when a nasty storm blew up around the North Foreland off the Isle of Thanet; having narrowly survived its maiden voyage, the king’s new yacht, ‘Fubbs’, remained in service for the best part of a century. Occasional music can easily lapse into obscurity after the occasion it was designed for is over – a fate that certainly hasn’t befallen the music Purcell provided for the funeral of Queen Mary, whose stark grandeur achieves a kind of universal expression of grief. Grief runs through Purcell’s early Funeral Sentences, which were probably written when he was still a chorister at the Chapel Royal. It’s not known whose death they commemorate – perhaps that of one of his musical mentors.

March, Z860
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Funeral Sentences (Man that is born of a woman, Z27 – In the midst of life, Z17 – Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts, Z58b)
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

Welcome to all the pleasures, Z339
Emily van Evera, soprano
Timothy Wilson, countertenor
John Mark Ainsley, Charles Daniels, tenor
David Thomas, bass
Taverner Consort, Choir & Players
Andrew Parrott, direction

They that go down to the sea in ships, Z57
Matthew Bright, alto
David Thomas, bass
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The English Concert
Simon Preston, conductor

Of old, when heroes thought it base, Z333 (‘The bashful Thames, for beauty so renowned’ – ‘So when the glitt’ring Queen of Night’)
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
The English Concert
Trevor Pinnock, conductor

Who can from joy refrain, Z342 (‘If he now burns with noble flame’)
Gillian Fisher, Tessa Bonner, soprano
The King’s Consort
Robert King, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, pieces he wrote to mark specific events.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Purcell and Politics20160427
03Purcell and Politics20160427Donald Macleod on Purcell's journeys through the political highways and byways of his day.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Purcell's Players20160428
04Purcell's Players20160428Donald Macleod introduces Purcell's colourful circle of singers and players.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Purcell's Venues20190919

Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, an excursion round six key Purcellian venues, from pint-sized York Buildings to gargantuan Westminster Abbey.

Music-lovers in late-seventeenth-century London had plenty of opportunity to hear Purcell’s music, and in all sorts of places, from taverns to palaces. But above all it was associated with a select group of venues. In the chapel of the old Palace of Whitehall, Purcell’s ‘symphony anthems’ were regularly heard. The vast, reverberant spaces of Westminster Abbey drew from him a more expansive kind of choral music. During Purcell’s lifetime, York Buildings was London’s only purpose-built concert hall, but its tiny dimensions – around 900 square feet – made it unsuitable for large-scale performances; for these, Stationers’ Hall was the venue of choice. Purcell spent much of the last five years of his life producing music for the theatre, in particular for the Duke’s Theatre in Dorset Garden, which was equipped to stage the most spectacular productions. The more modest Hall Theatre, originally the medieval hall at the centre of the Palace of Whitehall, is where Purcell’s welcome songs and royal birthday odes would have been heard.

The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 3, Symphony while the swans come forward)
The Monteverdi Choir
The English Baroque Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49 (‘Bell anthem’)
The Choir of New College, Oxford
The Band of Instruments
Edward Higginbottom, director

Ye tuneful Muses, Z344 (‘Ye tuneful Muses, raise your heads’ – ‘This point of time ends all your grief’)
Ben Davies, Stuart Young, bass
Jeremy Budd, tenor
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, conductor

Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328 (Symphony)
Gabrieli Players
Paul McCreesh, conductor

My heart is inditing, Z30
Tessa Bonner, Patrizia Kwella, soprano
Kai Wessel, countertenor
Paul Agnew, William Kendall, tenor
Peter Kooy, bass
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

The Fairy Queen, Z629
(Act 4, extract)
Gillian Fisher, soprano (an attendant)
Simon Berridge, Philip Daggett, tenor
Ian Partridge, tenor (Phoebus)
The Sixteen
The Symphony of Harmony and Invention
Harry Christophers, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, an excursion around six key Purcellian venues.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Purcell's Venues20190919Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, an excursion round six key Purcellian venues, from pint-sized York Buildings to gargantuan Westminster Abbey.

Music-lovers in late-seventeenth-century London had plenty of opportunity to hear Purcell’s music, and in all sorts of places, from taverns to palaces. But above all it was associated with a select group of venues. In the chapel of the old Palace of Whitehall, Purcell’s ‘symphony anthems’ were regularly heard. The vast, reverberant spaces of Westminster Abbey drew from him a more expansive kind of choral music. During Purcell’s lifetime, York Buildings was London’s only purpose-built concert hall, but its tiny dimensions – around 900 square feet – made it unsuitable for large-scale performances; for these, Stationers’ Hall was the venue of choice. Purcell spent much of the last five years of his life producing music for the theatre, in particular for the Duke’s Theatre in Dorset Garden, which was equipped to stage the most spectacular productions. The more modest Hall Theatre, originally the medieval hall at the centre of the Palace of Whitehall, is where Purcell’s welcome songs and royal birthday odes would have been heard.

The Fairy Queen, Z629 (Act 3, Symphony while the swans come forward)
The Monteverdi Choir
The English Baroque Orchestra
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49 (‘Bell anthem’)
The Choir of New College, Oxford
The Band of Instruments
Edward Higginbottom, director

Ye tuneful Muses, Z344 (‘Ye tuneful Muses, raise your heads’ – ‘This point of time ends all your grief’)
Ben Davies, Stuart Young, bass
Jeremy Budd, tenor
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, conductor

Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328 (Symphony)
Gabrieli Players
Paul McCreesh, conductor

My heart is inditing, Z30
Tessa Bonner, Patrizia Kwella, soprano
Kai Wessel, countertenor
Paul Agnew, William Kendall, tenor
Peter Kooy, bass
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor

The Fairy Queen, Z629
(Act 4, extract)
Gillian Fisher, soprano (an attendant)
Simon Berridge, Philip Daggett, tenor
Ian Partridge, tenor (Phoebus)
The Sixteen
The Symphony of Harmony and Invention
Harry Christophers, conductor

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, an excursion around six key Purcellian venues.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05Purcell in Print20160429
05Purcell in Print20160429Donald Macleod on how Purcell found himself at the centre of a disastrous lottery scheme.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05The Intimate Purcell20190920Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, the relatively small but extraordinarily rich body of work he wrote for intimate, domestic settings.

Earlier programmes this week have primarily focused on music for the liturgy, for the theatre, or for some grand occasion or another, all showing us Purcell’s public face. His smaller-scale work – catches, songs, keyboard and chamber music – is generally less well-known, but contains some absolute gems. In a sense, it’s the music that Purcell didn’t have to write.

‘Since the Duke is return’d’, Z271
The Sixteen (Nicholas Mulroy, George Pooley, Jeremy Budd, tenors)
Harry Christophers, conductor

Overture in G, Z770
London Baroque

Suite No 7 in D minor, Z668
Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord (Couchet-Taskin, Anvers 1671)

Sonata No 7 in E minor, Z796 (Twelve Sonnata’s of III Parts)
Purcell Quartet

‘O! Fair Cedaria, hide those eyes’, Z402
‘I resolve against cringing and whining’, Z386
‘I take no pleasure in the sun’s bright beams’, Z388
‘She loves and she confesses too’, Z413
Maarten Koningsberger, baritone
Fred Jacobs, theorbo

Sonata No 6 in G minor, Z807 (Ten Sonata’s in Four Parts)
The Locke Consort

‘Tell me, some pitying angel’, Z196 (‘The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation’)
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Elizabeth Kenny, theorbo
Anne-Marie Lasla, bass viol
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

Fantasia upon one note, Z745
Hespèrion XXI
Jordi Savall, director

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales.

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, music for intimate, domestic settings.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05 LASTThe Intimate Purcell20190920Donald Macleod explores the music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, the relatively small but extraordinarily rich body of work he wrote for intimate, domestic settings.

Earlier programmes this week have primarily focused on music for the liturgy, for the theatre, or for some grand occasion or another, all showing us Purcell’s public face. His smaller-scale work – catches, songs, keyboard and chamber music – is generally less well-known, but contains some absolute gems. In a sense, it’s the music that Purcell didn’t have to write.

‘Since the Duke is return’d’, Z271
The Sixteen (Nicholas Mulroy, George Pooley, Jeremy Budd, tenors)
Harry Christophers, conductor

Overture in G, Z770
London Baroque

Suite No 7 in D minor, Z668
Kenneth Gilbert, harpsichord (Couchet-Taskin, Anvers 1671)

Sonata No 7 in E minor, Z796 (Twelve Sonnata’s of III Parts)
Purcell Quartet

‘O! Fair Cedaria, hide those eyes’, Z402
‘I resolve against cringing and whining’, Z386
‘I take no pleasure in the sun’s bright beams’, Z388
‘She loves and she confesses too’, Z413
Maarten Koningsberger, baritone
Fred Jacobs, theorbo

Sonata No 6 in G minor, Z807 (Ten Sonata’s in Four Parts)
The Locke Consort

‘Tell me, some pitying angel’, Z196 (‘The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation’)
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Elizabeth Kenny, theorbo
Anne-Marie Lasla, bass viol
Laurence Cummings, harpsichord

Fantasia upon one note, Z745
Hespèrion XXI
Jordi Savall, director

Produced by Chris Barstow for BBC Cymru Wales.

The music and life of Henry Purcell. Today, music for intimate, domestic settings.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.