Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

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01*20090105

Donald Macleod and Purcell expert Bruce Wood explore the events of Purcell's early years.

Donald Macleod and Purcell expert Bruce Wood look at the important events of Purcell's early years.

The years of the Commonwealth were lean times for musicians.

The restoration of monarchy brought the re-establishment of Royal Music and young Purcell was quick to follow in the family tradition in the service of the King.

Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

What hope remains now he is gone

  • Simon Preston (director)

    from silent shades; how i sigh when i think of the charms of my swain (1680)

  • david willcocks (director)

    fantazia 6 a 4

  • hyperion cda 66667 - tr 48

    blow up the trumpet in sion z10

  • hyperion cda 66710 - tr 5

    staircase overture

  • hyperion cda 66710

    if even i more riches did desire z544

  • hyperion cda 66750 - tr 12
  • king's college choir
  • michael george (bass)
  • parley of instruments
  • parley of instruments renaissance violin band
  • peter holman (director)
  • phantasm
  • red byrd
  • robert king (director)
  • simax psc1124 - tr 6

    my beloved spake

  • susan gritton (soprano)
  • the choir of christ church oxford
  • the king's consort

  • 01A New Queen20150209

    Exploring how William and Mary's accession heralded a change in direction for Purcell.

    Henry Purcell's stageworks: William and Mary's accession heralds a change in direction for one of England's most brilliant and respected composers. This week Donald Macleod charts Purcell's activities during their reign. Cutbacks at court meant fewer commissions, but even though Purcell was asked to write less church music, he was able to cater admirably to the Royal taste for music for special occasions and write prolifically for the theatre.

    Walk along the North Quire Aisle of Westminster Abbey and you'll come to the tablet commemorating Henry Purcell. One of the pre-eminent musicians of the age, he died, unexpectedly and tragically early in 1695 at the age of 37. Yet despite the brevity of his life, Purcell left behind a rich musical legacy. Indeed, with little in the way of biographical detail remaining, it's through his music that glimpses of his character emerge. He was a gifted and prolific composer who wrote with skill and imagination for the opera, the church, theatre, royal patrons and even small domestic forces. Born a few hundred yards away from the Abbey, just south of Tothill Street, as a child he survived the Great Plague and the Fire of London. A chorister of the Chapel Royal, he went on to hold positions at court and at Westminster Abbey over three reigns, Charles II, James II and William and Mary, seemingly able to weather the political storms and prosper under each successive monarchy.

    Today Donald looks at Purcell's activities at the start of William and Mary's reign. Asked to provide music for their coronation, Purcell relied on a crafty bit of recycling, serving up an Introit he'd written four years earlier for Mary's father, the now deposed James II. Shortly afterwards he did produce something new, the first of a succession of annual birthday Odes for the new Queen. Meanwhile, he was looking beyond the court to rekindle his interest in the theatre.

    01Before The 'glorious' Revolution2011050920120220

    Donald Macleod introduces Purcell's earliest pieces for the stage.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's earliest contributions to the theatre, from a smattering of songs for plays in the 1680s, to his only 'all-sung' work for the stage which has eclipsed all his other theatre music - Dido and Aeneas. Privately performed before the composer had established himself in the professional theatre, it is now the only piece with a secure place in the modern repertoire.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's earliest contributions to the theatre, from a smattering of songs for plays in the 1680s, to his only 'all-sung' work for the stage which has eclipsed all his other theatre music - Dido and Aeneas.

    Privately performed before the composer had established himself in the professional theatre, it is now the only piece with a secure place in the modern repertoire.

    King Arthur: Chaconne

    The English concert/ Trevor Pinnock (director)

    Archiv 4354902 CD 1 tr 1

    Songs from Theodosius or The Force of Love

    The Academy of Ancient Music/ Christopher Hogwood (cond)

    Decca 4755292 cd 4 tr 17-22

    Songs from A Fool's Preferment

    Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor)/ The Academy of Ancient Music/ Christopher Hogwood (cond)

    Decca 4755292 cd 5 tr 14-17

    Dido and Aeneas (Extract: Act 3)

    Sarah Connolly (Dido); Gerald Finley (Aeneas)/ Lucy Crowe (Belinda)/ Patricia Bardon (Sorceress)/ OAE/ Steven Devine (cond)

    Chandos CHAN0757 tr 24-31.

    01England's Greatest Composer20061127

    Donald Macleod examines Purcell's reputation and explains why he thinks Purcell deserves to be championed above all his compatriots.

    Trumpet Overture (The Indian Queen)

    Purcell Simfony

    Catherine Mackintosh (director)

    From rosy bow'rs

    Nancy Argenta (soprano)

    Nigel North (baroque guitar)

    Richard Boothby (viola da gamba)

    Paul Nicholson (harpsichord)

    The Virtuous Wife - suite

    Parley of Instruments

    Peter Holman (director)

    Golden Sonata

    London Baroque

    Three parts on a ground

    Welcome to all the pleasures

    Taverner Consort and Choir

    Taverner Players

    Andrew Parrott (director).

    01From The End To The Beginning20130311

    The repercussions of Purcell's shocking early death.and his very first mature works.

    As part of BBC Radio 3's Baroque Spring season, Donald Macleod presents five snapshots of the greatest English composer of the era - a man whose uniquely original music still has the power to beguile, amuse, enrapture and disturb more than 450 years after his death.

    Henry Purcell was not just the finest Baroque composer to emerge from the British Isles: he was amongst the most gifted and influential composers of any age, with a musical voice that seemed to both look back towards the Renaissance and Elizabethan era, and yet assert a deeply original English individuality.

    In barely a decade and a half of mature work, before his tragic death at the age of 36, Purcell lived through a time of political and religious turbulence - writing for no fewer than four monarchs - Charles II, James II and the co-regents William and Mary - in a huge array of genres. A pioneer of English opera and instrumental music, he was also a composer of ravishing sacred music, anthems and odes, and a songsmith of genius.

    This week, Donald Macleod explores a selection of his most celebrated and cherished works, peering in through five distinct windows on his short life.

    We begin - at the end. Monday looks at Purcell's shocking early death - a seismic event in English musical culture, whose repercussions were felt for decades afterwards - before taking us back to the key years 1679-80, when Purcell first succeeded to the position of organist at Westminster Abbey, at the age of just 19.

    In Tuesday's episode we fast forward three years to 1683, and the virtuoso anthem "They That Go Down To Sea In Ships", written for the remarkable range of the bass singer John Gostling. We also explore one of three Odes to Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, that we'll hear this week: "Welcome To All The Pleasures".

    At the centrepiece of the week on Wednesday is perhaps Purcell's most iconic work: "Dido and Aeneas". Donald Macleod examines Purcell's revolutionary first opera, its influence and the power it still holds over us more than three centuries on after its composition in 1689. We'll also hear excerpts from each of the opera's three acts, in a trio of celebrated recordings.

    Thursday takes us to 1691-2 and two more operas with elements of English myth and fantasy: "The Fairy Queen" and "King Arthur". The series ends on Red Nose Day - and a rare glimpse at Purcell's bawdy sense of humour! As part of BBC Radio 3's "Baroque Around The Clock" in support of Comic Relief, we'll hear a handful of the composer's witty and occasionally scurrilous "catches" for voices.a long way from the stately drama of the stage! We also bring the week to a close with Purcell's last and perhaps most glorious ode to Saint Cecila: "Come, Ye Sons Of Art", composed in the year of his death, 1695.

    ---

    Donald Macleod begins this week of snapshots of Purcell's life at the very end - by exploring the composer's shocking early death at the age of only 36 - a seismic event in English musical culture, whose repercussions would be felt for many years to come. We then turn the clock back to the beginning of Henry Purcell's musical maturity - his appointment to the post of organist of Westminster Abbey in 1679. Part of BBC Radio 3's "Baroque Spring": a month long season of baroque music and culture.

    01Purcell's London20160425

    He's remembered as Britain's 'musical Shakespeare', but when it comes to Purcell's life the biographer's job is not easy. With no fewer than four Edwards, four Katherines, three Elizabeths and three Thomases in his immediate family, Purcell's family tree offers a challenge for even the most intrepid genealogist.

    Ever the brave explorer, Donald Macleod enters the fray to sift fact from fiction in the life of a musical revolutionary. It's a journey which has at its heart the story of a city. London in Purcell's time was, to the innocent eye, something of a Talibanesque cultural scene. Civil war had seen musical life ripped apart, and plague did its best to ravage any artistic activities which survived. Even secular music was on its knees with playhouses shut down and performers threatened with flogging for taking part in any dramatic pursuits.

    But, as we discover, Purcell managed to find opportunity where there seemed to be none. Through his entrepreneurial talent, his collaborative skill and his sheer musical brilliance, the composer forged a career which would mark him as one of the saviours of our musical heritage.

    arr Pluhar: Curtain Tune on a Ground

    L'Arpeggiata

    Christine Pluhar, director

    Voluntary for Double Organ

    John Butt, organ

    O God the King of Glory

    The King's Consort

    Robert King, director

    Hear my Prayer

    The King's Consort

    Robert King, director

    The Fairy Queen, excerpts

    The Sixteen

    Harry Christophers, conductor

    Amidst the Shades

    Barbara Bonney, soprano

    Mark Caudle, viol

    Robert King, organ

    My Heart is Inditing

    Voces 8

    Les Inventions

    Producer: Michael Surcombe.

    01Purcell's London20160425

    Donald Macleod on how the aftermath of the English Civil War set stiff tests for Purcell.

    01Purcell's London20160425

    02*20090106

    Donald Macleod follows Purcell's life into adulthood and marriage.

    With Bruce Wood.

    Donald Macleod and Bruce Wood chart Purcell's progress in his early 20s.

    By this time he was married and working at Charles II's court.

    He was also holding down duties at Westminster Abbey.

    Life was good, yet tinged at the same time with sadness as he had to cope with a number of deaths in his family including two of his own children.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Once, Twice, Thrice

  • Philippe Herreweghe (director)

    would you know how we meet

  • Robin Blaze, martin van der zeijist (countertenor)
  • adda 581242

    rejoice in the lord always

  • brian etheridge, michael george, stephen roberts (bass)
  • choir of king's college, cambridge
  • chorus and orchestra of collegium vocale
  • ensemble William Byrd
  • graham o'reilly (conductor)
  • gustav leonhardt (director)

    welcome to all the pleasures

  • hyperion cda 66730 t1

    welcome vicegerent of the mighty king

  • jonathan arnold, peter harvey (bass)
  • leonhardt consort
  • mark padmore (tenor)
  • robert king (director)
  • susan gritton (soprano)
  • susan hamilton, siri thornhill (soprano)
  • teldec 4509979932 t17
  • teldec 4509979932 t9

    she loves and she confesses too

  • the king's consort

  • 02Breaking New Ground20150210

    Donald Macleod discusses Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Music for a while.

    Henry Purcell's stageworks: Purcell's innovative theatrical production "Dido and Aeneas" lays the artistic foundation for subsequent projects with the most famous writer of the day, John Dryden.

    Across the week Donald Macleod charts Purcell's activities during the reign of William and Mary. Cutbacks at court meant fewer commissions, but even though Purcell was asked to write less church music, he was able to cater admirably to the Royal taste for music for special occasions and write prolifically for the theatre.

    Walk along the North Quire Aisle of Westminster Abbey and you'll come to the tablet commemorating Henry Purcell. One of the pre-eminent musicians of the age, he died, unexpectedly and tragically early in 1695 at the age of 37. Yet despite the brevity of his life, Purcell left behind a rich musical legacy. Indeed, with little in the way of biographical detail remaining, it's through his music that glimpses of his character emerge. He was a gifted and prolific composer who wrote with skill and imagination for the opera, the church, theatre, royal patrons and even small domestic forces. Born a few hundred yards away from the Abbey, just south of Tothill Street, as a child he survived the Great Plague and the Fire of London. A chorister of the Chapel Royal, he went on to hold positions at court and at Westminster Abbey over three reigns, Charles II, James II and William and Mary, seemingly able to weather the political storms and prosper under each successive monarchy.

    As William and Mary's reign gathered pace, Purcell became more involved in writing music for stage productions. He had critical success with the groundbreaking opera "Dido and Aeneas", leading to a fruitful association with the United Company, a theatrical monopoly of London's theatres.

    02Equal With The Best Abroad2011051020120221

    Donald Macleod on the theatre music Purcell wrote under the regime - of William and Mary.

    In the last five years of his life Purcell was to contribute music to around 50 stage productions. The reign of William and Mary brought about a scaling back of court music, so the composer turned to the theatre as a source of income. He became a more public figure in the process, and began to work with playwrights such as John Dryden, chief poet of the Restoration. With Donald Macleod.

    In the last five years of his life Purcell was to contribute music to around 50 stage productions.

    The reign of William and Mary brought about a scaling back of court music, so the composer turned to the theatre as a source of income.

    He became a more public figure in the process, and began to work with playwrights such as John Dryden, chief poet of the Restoration.

    With Donald Macleod.

    02Purcell and Fashion20160426

    In Purcell's time if it was cool it was probably French. Today Donald Macleod finds the composer riding the wave of contemporary fashions, and wearing not just a beret but also military cravat and a sharp Italian suit. As we discover, Purcell could be all things to all men if he so desired, and he was happy to satisfy the King's French fascinations one day, and aristocratic Italian obsessions the next. We also find him paying tribute to his English predecessors, even if that meant swimming against the cultural tide.

    arr Jay Bernfeld: Fantasia à5 in F Z 745

    Fuoco e Cenere

    Jay Bernfeld, director

    Sonata à3 in C minor Z 798

    Retrospect Trio

    Retir'd from any mortal's sight Z 581

    Judith Nelson, soprano

    Christopher Hogwood, harpsichord

    Fantasia V à4

    Fretwork

    Pox on You

    The Merry Companions

    If ever I more riches did desire Z 544

    Parley of Instruments

    Red Byrd

    Peter Holman, director

    Dioclesian, conclusion

    Ann Monoyios, soprano,

    Stephen Gadd, bass

    Richard Edgar-Wilson, tenor

    Paul Agnew, tenor

    The English Concert

    Trevor Pinnock, director

    Producer: Michael Surcombe.

    02Purcell and Fashion20160426

    Donald explains how Purcell tailored his music to varied contemporary styles.

    02Purcell and Fashion20160426

    02Religion And Politics20061128

    Church and state were uncomfortable but constant bedfellows during the 17th century, making life especially complicated for Purcell, who held top jobs with both.

    Rejoice in the Lord alway

    Winchester Cathedral Choir

    Brandenburg Consort

    David Hill (director)

    Organ Voluntary in D minor

    Paul Plummer

    I will love thee, O Lord

    Michael George (bass),

    Choir of New College Oxford

    King's Consort

    Robert King (director)

    Retir'd from mortals' sight

    Nancy Argenta (soprano)

    Nigel North (archlute)

    Harpsichord Suite No 3

    Kenneth Gilbert

    Funeral Music

    Oxford Camerata

    Jeremy Summerly (director).

    02The Year 168320130312

    One of Purcell's most original anthems: the bass showpiece They that Go to Sea in Ships.

    Donald Macleod explores one of Purcell's most original anthems: the virtuoso showpiece for bass "They That Go To Sea In Ships", written for singer John Gostling. He also introduces the first of three Odes to Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, that we'll hear this week: "Welcome To All The Pleasures". Part of a month long season of baroque music and culture.

    03*20090107

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's early theatrical ventures with Bruce Wood.

    Donald Macleod and Bruce Wood discuss Purcell's earliest theatrical jobs, looking at what effect the political intrigues of the time had on Purcell's other jobs as a court and church musician.

    Versatility was a necessity in Purcell's age.

    Early on in his career he successfully dipped his toe into theatrical waters, producing some hit music for Nathaniel Lee's Theodosius.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Air (Abdelazer)

  • Catherine Bott, emma kirkby (soprano)
  • James Bowman (countertenor)
  • Simon Preston (director)
  • chorus and orchestra of the academy of ancient music
  • christopher hogwood (conductor)
  • christopher hogwood (conductor)

    i was glad

  • decca 475 5292 cd1 t3

    hail to the myrtle shade (theodosius)

  • decca 4786 5292 cd4 t21

    fly, bold rebellion! z324

  • gillian fisher, tessa bonner (soprano)
  • hyperion cda 66412 t1

    dido and aeneas (act 2, sc 1; act 3, sc 2)

  • john mark ainsley (tenor)
  • judith nelson (soprano)
  • king's consort
  • robert king (director)
  • rogers covey-crump (high tenor)
  • rufus muller, michael george (bass)
  • the academy of ancient music
  • the choir of christ church cathedral choir, oxford

  • 03Dido And Aeneas20130313

    Donald Macleod examines Purcell's revolutionary first opera Dido and Aeneas.

    Donald Macleod examines Purcell's revolutionary first opera, "Dido and Aeneas", and the influence and power it still holds over us more than three centuries on after its composition in 1689. He introduces excerpts from each of the opera's three acts, in a trio of celebrated recordings. Part of BBC Radio 3's "Baroque Spring": a month long season of baroque music and culture.

    03Purcell and Politics20160427

    Donald Macleod traces Purcell's own journeys through the political highways and byways of his day, including the infamous Rye House plot which culminates in one of the most gruesome executions in British history.

    It's 1678 and the King has been alerted to a deadly conspiracy. The whole thing reads like 21st-century terrorist plot: Charles is supposedly to be shot, poisoned and stabbed, while a number of cities around the country are to be fire-bombed. The whole thing turns out to be hoax, but its aftermath sees Purcell involved in celebrations for the King's safe return from seasonal travels.

    Old Sir Simon the King

    Concerto Caledonia

    Ode: Welcome Vicegerent

    Tragicomedia

    Suzi le Blanc, soprano

    Barbara Borden, soprano

    Belinda Sykes, contralto

    Steve Degardin, counter-tenor

    Douglas Nasrawi, tenor

    Harvey Brough, tenor

    Harry van der Kamp, bass

    Simon Grant, bass

    Stephen Stubbs and Erin Headley, directors

    Jehovah quam multi sunt hostes

    Paul Agnew, tenor

    Konstantin Wolff, bass

    Les Arts Florissants

    Voluntary in G Z 720

    Robert Woolley, organ

    Ode: Fly Bold Rebellion

    Michael George, bass

    Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor

    Rufus Muller, tenor

    Gillian Fisher, soprano

    Tessa Bonner, soprano

    James Bowman, counter-tenor

    The King's Consort

    Robert King, director

    Minuet and Sefauchi's Farewell

    The Harp Consort

    Andrew Lawrence-King, harp/director

    Producer: Michael Surcombe.

    03Purcell and Politics20160427

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

    03Purcell and Politics20160427

    03The King's Musick20061129

    Donald Macleod discovers how Purcell's life and music was shaped by each of the three monarchs he served.

    From those serene and rapturous joys

    Andrew Tusa (tenor)

    King's consort

    Robert King (director)

    The Staircase - overture

    Chacony in Gm

    Parley of Instruments

    Peter Holman (director)

    If Prayers and Tears

    Susan Gritton (soprano)

    Members of The King's Consort

    Sound the trumpet, beat the drum

    James Bowman (countertenor)

    Rogers Covey-Crump (high tenor)

    Rufus Muller (tenor)

    Michael George (bass)

    Timon of Athens - overture.

    03Thou Genius Of This Isle2011051120120222

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's major collaboration with John Dryden - King Arthur.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's major collaboration with John Dryden, King Arthur, and looks at some of the characters populating London's theatrical world in the 1690s. A spoken verse drama 'adorn'd with Scenes, Machines, Songs and Dances', King Arthur features the extraordinary Frost Scene. A military hero and British virtues made it appropriate to the current regime, and there was also room for reflection on the new commercial ethos of the times, with songs in praise of Britain's chief exports, fish and wool.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's major collaboration with John Dryden, King Arthur, and looks at some of the characters populating London's theatrical world in the 1690s.

    A spoken verse drama 'adorn'd with Scenes, Machines, Songs and Dances', King Arthur features the extraordinary Frost Scene.

    A military hero and British virtues made it appropriate to the current regime, and there was also room for reflection on the new commercial ethos of the times, with songs in praise of Britain's chief exports, fish and wool.

    03Topping The Charts20150211

    Donald Macleod discusses the staging of Purcell's semi-opera King Arthur.

    Henry Purcell's stageworks: Donald Macleod finds out what kind of spectacle a Restoration audience experienced when Purcell's semi-opera King Arthur was mounted.

    Across the week Donald Macleod charts Purcell's activities during the reign of William and Mary. Cutbacks at court meant fewer commissions, but even though Purcell was asked to write less church music, he was able to cater admirably to the Royal taste for music for special occasions and write prolifically for the theatre.

    Walk along the North Quire Aisle of Westminster Abbey and you'll come to the tablet commemorating Henry Purcell. One of the pre-eminent musicians of the age, he died, unexpectedly and tragically early in 1695 at the age of 37. Yet despite the brevity of his life, Purcell left behind a rich musical legacy. Indeed, with little in the way of biographical detail remaining, it's through his music that glimpses of his character emerge. He was a gifted and prolific composer who wrote with skill and imagination for the opera, the church, theatre, royal patrons and even small domestic forces. Born a few hundred yards away from the Abbey, just south of Tothill Street, as a child he survived the Great Plague and the Fire of London. A chorister of the Chapel Royal, he went on to hold positions at court and at Westminster Abbey over three reigns, Charles II, James II and William and Mary, seemingly able to weather the political storms and prosper under each successive monarchy.

    Riding high after the success of "Dioclesian", Purcell's theatrical ventures go from strength to strength. In today's episode there's music from a play by William Congreve and Purcell's most successful collaboration with John Dryden.

    04*20090108

    Donald Macleod considers how Purcell adapted to working for two very different monarchs.

    Donald Macleod is joined by Bruce Wood to consider how Purcell responded to two very different reigns: the Catholic James II and Protestants William and Mary of Orange.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Miserere mei

  • James Bowman (countertenor)
  • Simon Preston (conductor)

    now does the glorious day appear, z332

  • Trevor Pinnock (director)

    sound, fame, thy brazen trumpet sound! (dioclesian, act 4)

  • choir of the english concert
  • coro 16024 t2

    o sing unto the lord

  • david thomas (bass)
  • english baroque soloists
  • english concert
  • erato ecd 75473 cd2 t7
  • gillian fisher (soprano)
  • harry christophers (director)
  • hyperion cda 66314 t18 - 28

    of old, when heroes thought it base (the yorkshire feast song, z333)

  • john eliot gardiner (director)
  • john mark ainsley (tenor)
  • michael chance (countertenor)
  • michael george (bass)
  • michael george, stephen richardson (bass)
  • monteverdi choir
  • oxford christ church cathedral choir
  • robert king (conductor)
  • the king's consort
  • the sixteen

  • 04Music For The Masses20061130

    Donald Macleod explores the burgeoning worlds of music publishing and public concerts that were becoming established during Purcell's lifetime.

    Fantasia a 4 in B flat

    London Baroque

    What hope for us remains?

    Susan Gritton (soprano)

    Michael George (bass)

    Mark Caudle (bass viol)

    David Miller (archlute)

    Nymphs and Shepherds

    Nancy Argenta (soprano)

    Nicholas Robinson and Fiona Huggett (violins)

    Trevor Jones (viola)

    Nigel North (baroque guitar)

    Richard Boothby (viola da gamba)

    John Toll (harpsichord)

    Once, twice, thrice; Under this stone

    Pro Cantione Antiqua

    Yorkshire Feast Song

    James Bowman (countertenor)

    Rogers Covey-Crump (high tenor)

    Charles Daniels (tenor)

    Robert Evans (bass)

    King's Consort

    Robert King (director).

    04Purcell's Players20160428

    For any biographer, the cast of characters which surrounded Purcell is a gift. Today Donald Macleod meets a selection of these singers, actors, instrumentalists and supporters, all of whom contributed in some way to the composer's success and reputation. Among them we meet an actress whose personal life would have landed her on the Jeremy Kyle show had it existed, and we also find how 'that stupendous bass' John Gostling found himself linked to the King's famously portly wife.

    Pavane in B flat Z 750

    The Fires of London

    Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor

    They that Go Down to the Sea in Ships

    James Bowman, counter-tenor

    Michael George, bass

    The King's Consort

    Robert King, director

    Dido and Aeneas, Act 3

    Paul Agnew, tenor, sailor

    Felicity Palmer, contralto, sorceress

    Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano, Dido

    Camilla Tilling, soprano, Belinda

    Ian Bostridge, tenor, Aeneas

    European Voices

    Le Concert d'Astrée,

    Emmanuelle Haim, director

    Fantasia à4 no 6

    Fretwork

    Now that the Sun hath veil'd his light

    Hannah Morrison, soprano

    William Christie, organ

    Hail! Bright Cecilia, conclusion

    Susan Hamilton, soprano

    Siri Thornhill, soprano

    Robin Blaze, counter-tenor

    Martin van der Zeijst, tenor

    Mark Padmore, tenor

    Jonathan Arnold, bass

    Jonathan Brown, bass

    Collegium Vocale

    Philippe Herreweghe, director

    Producer: Michael Surcombe.

    04Purcell's Players20160428

    Donald Macleod introduces Purcell's colourful circle of singers and players.

    04Purcell's Players20160428

    04The Blockbuster20150212

    Donald Macleod follows Purcell's progress at the heart of London's theatrical life.

    Purcell's stageworks: "The Fairy Queen", Purcell's most lavish production, enchants audiences but its exorbitant cost has disastrous consequences for the United Company.

    Across the week Donald Macleod charts Purcell's activities during the reign of William and Mary. Cutbacks at court meant fewer commissions, but even though Purcell was asked to write less church music, he was able to cater admirably to the Royal taste for music for special occasions and write prolifically for the theatre.

    Walk along the North Quire Aisle of Westminster Abbey and you'll come to the tablet commemorating Henry Purcell. One of the pre-eminent musicians of the age, he died, unexpectedly and tragically early in 1695 at the age of 37. Yet despite the brevity of his life, Purcell left behind a rich musical legacy. Indeed, with little in the way of biographical detail remaining, it's through his music that glimpses of his character emerge. He was a gifted and prolific composer who wrote with skill and imagination for the opera, the church, theatre, royal patrons and even small domestic forces. Born a few hundred yards away from the Abbey, just south of Tothill Street, as a child he survived the Great Plague and the Fire of London. A chorister of the Chapel Royal, he went on to hold positions at court and at Westminster Abbey over three reigns, Charles II, James II and William and Mary, seemingly able to weather the political storms and prosper under each successive monarchy.

    In today's episode Donald Macleod follows Purcell's progress at the creative heart of London's theatrical life, when his most expensive production, a setting of Shakespeare's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is mounted by the United Company. His vivid word painting and colourful orchestral writing find expression not only on stage but also in works like the Te Deum.

    04The Years 1691-9220130314

    Donald Macleod explores English myth and fantasy in The Fairy Queen and King Arthur.

    Donald Macleod examines two operas with elements of English myth and fantasy: "The Fairy Queen" and "King Arthur". Part of BBC Radio 3's "Baroque Spring": a month long season of baroque music and culture.

    04We'll Try A Thousand Charming Ways To Win Ye2011051220120223

    Donald Macleod on Purcell's music for an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's music for a spectacular 1692 adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Fairy Queen. Later that year the London stage faced disasters involving its principal performers - the worst being the murder of the actor William Mountfort, by an army officer, over the star actress Anne Bracegirdle. This was a bad omen for the United Company, which thanks to financial mismanagement was on the brink of collapse.

    Donald Macleod explores Purcell's music for a spectacular 1692 adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Fairy Queen.

    Later that year the London stage faced disasters involving its principal performers - the worst being the murder of the actor William Mountfort, by an army officer, over the star actress Anne Bracegirdle.

    This was a bad omen for the United Company, which thanks to financial mismanagement was on the brink of collapse.

    Music for a while

    James Bowman (tenor)/ The Academy of Ancient Music/ Christopher Hogwood (cond)

    Decca 4755292 CD5 tr 8

    Hang this whining way of wooing

    No, no, poor suff'ring heart

    Emma Kirkby (soprano)/ The Academy of Ancient Music/ Christopher Hogwood (cond)

    Decca 4755292 CD5 tr 24 & 26

    The Fairy Queen: Sonata while the sun rises

    The Parley of Instruments/ Roy Goodman (cond)

    Hyperion CDS443813 CD 3 tr 28-31

    The Fairy Queen (Extract from Act II)

    Jeffrey Thomas/ Caroline Stam/ Anne Grimm (Night)/ Nadia Ragni (Mystery)/ Geraint Roberts (secrecy)/ Donald Bentvelsen (Sleep)/ The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir/ Ton Koopman (cond)

    Erato 4509-98506-2

    No, no, no resistance is but vain

    Emma Kirkby (soprano)/ Evelyn Tubb (soprano)/ The Consort of Musicke directed by Anthony Rooley

    Musica Oscura 070977 tr 1.

    05Purcell In Print20160429

    Today Purcell finds himself at the centre of a disastrous lottery scheme, designed to entice the great and good of his day to win the ultimate scholarly education. There are more successful business ventures too, not least his tie-up with the Playford printing dynasty, seeing recognition and circulation for the composer long after his death. And we also meet an adventurous publishing mogul whose bizarre death would bring tears to any eye. With Donald Macleod.

    arr Pluhar: Strike the Viol

    L'Arpeggiata

    Christine Pluhar, director

    Blow, blow, Boreas

    Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor

    David Thomas, bass

    Almand

    Andrew Lawrence-King, harp

    Suite no 8 in F Z 669

    Robert Woolley, harpsichord

    In guilty night Z 134

    Paul Agnew, tenor

    Claire Debono, soprano

    Konstantin Wolff, bass

    Raise, Raise the Voice Z 334

    Barbara Borden, soprano

    Douglas Nasrawi, tenor

    Simon Grant, bass,

    Tragicomedia

    Stephen Stubbs and Erin Headley, directors

    Gentle Shepherds, you that know ('Pastoral Elegy on the Death of Mr John Playford') Z 464 Susan Gritton, soprano,

    Michael George, bass

    Producer: Michael Surcombe.

    Donald Macleod on how Purcell found himself at the centre of a disastrous lottery scheme.

    05The Death Of A Queen20150213
    05The Death Of A Queen20150213
    05The Death Of A Queen20150213

    Exploring how Purcell's theatrical ventures were interrupted by Queen Mary's death.

    05The Death Of A Queen20150213

    05The Death Of A Queen20150213
    05The Death Of A Queen20150213

    Henry Purcell's stageworks: a birthday Ode and a Royal death inspire Purcell to write some of his most finest music. It's not too long though before he's back writing for the stage once again.

    Across the week Donald Macleod charts Purcell's activities during the reign of William and Mary. Cutbacks at court meant fewer commissions, but even though Purcell was asked to write less church music, he was able to cater admirably to the Royal taste for music for special occasions and write prolifically for the theatre.

    Walk along the North Quire Aisle of Westminster Abbey and you'll come to the tablet commemorating Henry Purcell. One of the pre-eminent musicians of the age, he died, unexpectedly and tragically early in 1695 at the age of 37. Yet despite the brevity of his life, Purcell left behind a rich musical legacy. Indeed, with little in the way of biographical detail remaining, it's through his music that glimpses of his character emerge. He was a gifted and prolific composer who wrote with skill and imagination for the opera, the church, theatre, royal patrons and even small domestic forces. Born a few hundred yards away from the Abbey, just south of Tothill Street, as a child he survived the Great Plague and the Fire of London. A chorister of the Chapel Royal, he went on to hold positions at court and at Westminster Abbey over three reigns, Charles II, James II and William and Mary, seemingly able to weather the political storms and prosper under each successive monarchy.

    In the final part of Donald Macleod's series on Purcell's dramatic works, Purcell's theatrical ventures are interrupted by the death of Queen Mary. Having written some of his most memorable music for her funeral, Purcell returns to the stage for the last time.

    05 LAST*20090109

    Donald Macleod and Bruce Wood explore Purcell's theatrical interests in his later years.

    Donald Macleod is joined by Bruce Wood to explore Purcell's theatrical interests in his later years.

    Following the accession of William and Mary of Orange, music at court was scaled down.

    Purcell turned very successfully to the stage and became involved in several ground-breaking dramatic works including King Arthur and The Fairy Queen.

    Part of Radio 3's Composers of the Year 2009 season.

    Overture and dances (Amphitryon)

  • Martin Neary (conductor)

    elegy on the death of queen mary (incassum, lesbia, incassum rogas)

  • choir of westminster abbey
  • christopher hogwood (conductor)

    fairest isle; our natives no alone appear (king arthur)

  • coro 16005, cd2 t4, 7-11

    thou knowest, lord

  • coro 16024 t11

    entry of phoebus; spring, summer, autumn, winter (the fairy queen)

  • coro 16024 t6

    zempoala; what flatt'ring noise is this? by the croaking of the toad; trumpet overture (the indian queen)

  • english baroque soloists
  • erato 4509 96552-2 cd2 t10/13

    long may she reign over this isle (ode for queen mary's birthday 1692)

  • gill ross (soprano)
  • harry christophers (conductor)
  • harry christophers (director)
  • ian partridge (tenor)
  • john eliot gardiner (conductor)
  • libby crabtree (soprano)
  • lorna anderson (soprano)
  • lynn ckd035 - t10, 11, 19, 22
  • mark bennett (trumpet)
  • michael chance (countertenor)
  • michael george (bass)
  • monteverdi choir
  • new london consort
  • peter harvey (baritone)
  • rogers covey crump (tenor)
  • steven liley (tenor)
  • the academy of ancient music
  • the purcell symphony
  • the purcell symphony voices
  • the sixteen
  • the symphony of harmony and invention

  • 05 LASTCatch Me If You Can20130315

    Celebrating Red Nose Day Donald Macleod explores Purcell's bawdy sense of humour.

    As BBC Radio 3 celebrates Red Nose Day with "Baroque around the Clock", Donald Macleod presents a rare glimpse at Purcell's bawdy sense of humour in a handful of the composer's witty and occasionally scurrilous "catches" for voices - a long way from the stately drama of the stage!

    We bring the week to a close with Purcell's last and perhaps most glorious ode to Saint Cecila: "Come, Ye Sons Of Art", composed in the year of his death, 1695. Part of BBC Radio 3's "Baroque Spring": a month-long season of baroque music and culture.

    05 LASTIn His Sickness2011051320120224

    Donald Macleod explores the later works Purcell wrote for the stage.

    Donald Macleod explores the later works Purcell wrote for the stage, including his last song, and the semi-opera The Indian Queen, which he did not live to complete.

    05 LASTMusic For The Theatre20061201

    Alongside his official duties at court and for Westminster Cathedral, Purcell enjoyed huge success as a freelance composer for the stage

    Ah! How Happy Are We

    Timothy Penrose (countertenor)

    James Griffett (tenor)

    Jaroslav Tuma (harpsichord)

    Petr Hejny (viola da gamba)

    Man is for the Woman made

    Judith Nelson (soprano)

    Christopher Hogwood (harpsichord)

    Dioclesian - suite

    Tafelmusik

    Jeanne Lamon (director)

    The Fairy Queen (excerpts)

    Lorna Anderson and Gillian Fisher (sopranos)

    Michael Chance (alto)

    Ian Partridge, Simon Berridge and Philip Daggett (tenors)

    Michael George (bass)

    The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra

    Harry Christophers (director)

    Fairest isle

    Nancy Argenta (soprano)

    Nigel North (archlute).