Front cover image for Performing the music of Henry Purcell

Performing the music of Henry Purcell

Michael Burden (Editor)
'We all pay lip service to Henry Purcell, but what do we really know of him?', asked Ralph Vaughan Williams. As Nicholas Kenyon points out in his introduction to this volume, many of the circumstances of Purcell's life and music remain obscure. With the tercentenary of Purcell's death, much of his music is being performed, often for the first time for many years. This book, based on discussions at a conference in Oxford in 1993, attempts to answer some of the many questions of performance practice that have arisen. The first part of the book considers purely musical issues, and covers a wide range of topics. Peter Holman looks at the importance of the Oxford sets of parts for Restoration Concerted Music in the overall picture of orchestral practice in the seventeenth century. This is followed by two organological essays, one on organs (Dominic Gwynn) and the other on violins (John Dilworth). The remainder of this first section has three studies on historical performance; Purcell's 'Exotick' trumpet notes (Peter Downey), Queen Mary's Funeral Music (Bruce Wood), and ornamenting Purcell's keyboard music (H. Diack Johnstone); and two on singers and singing; Purcell's stage singers (Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson), and voice ranges, voice types, and pitch (Timothy Morris). The second part of the book, devoted to the stage works, opens with an examination of past performances of the dramatick operas (Michael Burden). Contributors then examine the importance of allegory in performing stage works (Andrew Walkling) theatrical dance (Richard Semmens), costume and etiquette (Ruth-Eva Ronen), stage music (Roger Savage), and aspects of performing Dioclesian (Julia and Frans Muller) and King Arthur (Lionel Sawkins)
Print Book, English, 1996
Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, 1996