Purcell: A Biography by Jonathan Keates, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Purcell: A Biography

Purcell: A Biography

by Jonathan Keates
     
 
In this colorful biography, Jonathan Keates deftly traces Henry Purcell's life and career against the backdrop of the turbulent political, religious, theatrical, and social movements of his time. Following the composer through his extraordinarily prolific career, as chorister at the Chapel Royal, as composer for theater and court, as writer of sacred music, chamber

Overview

In this colorful biography, Jonathan Keates deftly traces Henry Purcell's life and career against the backdrop of the turbulent political, religious, theatrical, and social movements of his time. Following the composer through his extraordinarily prolific career, as chorister at the Chapel Royal, as composer for theater and court, as writer of sacred music, chamber music, and the first British opera, Keates shows how Purcell's musical genius both embraced and transcended the tensions of Restoration England to give his era and culture an unforgettable voice.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ever since the tercentenary of Purcell's birth, in 1959, there has been growing attention by scholars, biographers and musicians to the remarkable body of work of the "English Orpheus," and this latest biographythe second to appear this yearis a worthy addition to Purcellian scholarship. Keates, a fiction writer (like Maureen Duffy before him) as well as a musical biographer, suffers from the same meagerness of primary sources as other would-be Purcell biographers ("A true biography," he says, "is impossible to fashion"); there are very few documents, other than the manuscripts; sketchy records; and almost no anecdotal material. Still, he has made excellent use of his own enthusiasm for Purcell's music to kindle interest even in more out-of-the-way pieces; his detailed treatment of much of the music is the best so far in a popular study. He is intelligent also on the complex religio-political history of the time, and casts a knowing eye on the French and Italian influences on Baroque music, influences that Purcell thoroughly absorbed into a distinctive English style that has inspired native composers ever since. Illustrations, and a helpful index to works discussed in the text. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The past three years have seen a veritable flood of tercentennial monographs on the life and works of Henry Purcell, England's preeminent 17th-century composer. Like Maureen Duffy's excellent biography (Henry Purcell, LJ 6/15/96), Keates's work is a marvel of insightful research and witty, elegant prose. The author is no stranger to British baroque music; his biography of George Frederick Handel (Handel: the Man & His Music, Trafalgar Square, 1993) is widely respected for its scholarly authority. In the present volume, Keates, with far fewer hard facts at his disposal, is nonetheless able to conjure up a vivid picture of Purcell's life and achievements amid the turbulent political and musical spheres of the English Restoration. No musical examples are provided, but Keates helpfully points the reader toward recent analytical studies. An excellent, thorough index of Purcell's works is included, in addition to the general index. This is another fine addition to the welcome wave of Purcellania. Smaller music collections that passed on Duffy's work would do well to buy this volume; larger collections should consider both works.-Larry A. Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, Pa.
Booknews
A biography of the Baroque composer following Purcell's career from chorister at the Chapel Royal, to theater and court composer, and through his period as a writer of sacred and chamber music. Although set against the political, religious, and theatrical moods of the Restoration, the biography roots itself in the music itself emphasizing Purcell's influences and innovations which modified French, Italian, and native traditions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555532871
Publisher:
Northeastern University Press
Publication date:
10/10/1996
Pages:
316
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.02(d)

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