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Purcell, Henry

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Born: 1659 AD
Died: 1695 AD, at 36 years of age.

Nationality: English
Categories: Composers, Musicians

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1659 - Henry Purcell, born on the 10th of September in St Ann's Lane, Old Pye Street, Westminster, London, UK. He is a Baroque composer, is generally considered to be one of England's greatest composers. He has often been called England's finest native composer.

1676 - He was appointed copyist at Westminster Abbey, not organist, as has sometimes been erroneously stated, and in the same year he composed the music to John Dryden's Aurenge-Zebe, and Thomas Shadwell's Epsom Wells and The Libertine.

1679 - He wrote some songs for Playford's Choice Ayres, Songs and Dialogues, and also an anthem, the name of which is not known, for the chapel-royal.

1681 - Appointed organist of Westminster Abbey, at the age of twenty-two, was placed in one of the most honorable positions an English artist could occupy.

1683 - He was a Chapel Royal chorister, and held posts as organist there and at Westminster Abbey, as well as becoming keeper of the king's instruments.

       - His first printed composition, Twelve Sonatas, was published.

1685 - He wrote two of his finest anthems, "I was glad" and "My heart is inditing", for the coronation of James II.

       - Composition of his opera Dido and Aeneas, which forms a very important landmark in the history of English dramatic music.

1687 - He resumed his connection with the theater by furnishing the music for Dryden's tragedy, Tyrannic Love.

1690 - He wrote the songs for Dryden's version of Shakespeare's Tempest, including "Full fathom five" and "Come unto these Yellow Sands", and the music for Betterton's adaptation of Fletcher and Massinger's Prophetess afterwards called Dioclesian.

1692 - 1695 - He also wrote a great deal of incidental stage music, including The Fairy Queen and The Tempest.

1694 - His greatest work is undoubtedly his Te Deum and Jubilate, written for St. Cecilia's Day, the first English Te Deum ever composed with orchestral accompaniments.

1695 - He died at his house in Dean's Yard, Westminster, on the 21st of November, and was buried under the organ in Westminster Abbey. He left a widow and three children, three having predeceased him.


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Page last updated: 8:57am, 19th Apr '07