Essay about Henry Purcell

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Henry Purcell is seen as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque period and one of the greatest of all English composers. His earliest surviving works date from 1680 and show a complete command of musical composition. They include some fantasias for viols, masterpieces of contrapuntal writing, and more contemporary sonatas for violins, which reveal some acquaintance with Italian models. Purcell, in his time, became increasingly in demand as a composer, and his theatre music in particular made his name familiar to many who knew nothing of his church music or the odes and welcome songs he wrote for the court of three different kings over twenty-five years.
To begin to chronicle the life of Henry Purcell is a difficult task as there is
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A job that was given to many other trusted workers in the abbey as Westminster had no official copyist. Purcell probably spent most that time copying post restoration works that were being created at the time. This work as well as his normal workload as a choir boy would have acquainted him with the restoration composers and given him insight into their work. He himself confessed to transcribing the works of Byrd, Gibbons and Tallis into his own personal manuscript book.
Charles II had in his court a copy of Louis XIV's Vignt-quatre violins du Roiand. This group of musicians was to play for Charles much the same as the French model played for Louis. In 1677 death came to Matthew Locke the then composer for Charles the second's twenty-four violins (Westrup, p.26). Purcell, the precocious lad he was, succeeded him at the age of only eighteen. This was a most distinguished post for a musician and composer since Locke was one of the most respected composers of his day.
No doubt there were some complaints of favoritism as Locke was an intimate friend of the Purcell family. The duties of twenty-four violins were principally to play at court functions wherever the king was in residence; Charles II loved to listen before meal-times. Charles' taste in music did not extend beyond that which was not "readily intelligible"1 with a straightforward rhythm that he could beat time. In other words he knew what he liked and knew
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