Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/59

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ultimate agreement to exercise a joint influence; a very beautiful and characteristic composition. He does not appear to have produced anything for the theatre in 1679 [App. p766 "His only production for the stage in 1679 was Lee's 'Oedipus.' [See Dorset Garden Theatre in Appendix vol. iv. p. 617.]"], but several of his songs were published in that year in Playford's second Book just named; and an extant letter, dated Feb. 8, 1678–9, from his uncle Thomas, to the Rev. John Gostling, the celebrated bass singer, then at Canterbury, shows that he then produced something for the church; the writer telling Gostling that his son, Henry (as he affectionately called his nephew), was then composing and that the composition was likely to cause Gostling to be called to London. Gostling was appointed a gentleman extraordinary of the Chapel Royal Feb. 25, 1679, and a gentleman in ordinary soon afterwards. It would be very interesting to know which of Purcell's anthems was then produced, but at present there seems no clue. In 1680, however, he composed music for Lee's tragedy 'Theodosius,' the overture and act tunes for D'Urfey's comedy 'The Virtuous Wife,' and produced the first his numerous odes, viz. 'An Ode or Welcome for his Royal Highness [the Duke of York] his return from Scotland,' and 'A Song to welome home His Majesty from Windsor.' In the same year he obtained the appointment of organist of Westminster Abbey, and then gave up his connection with the theatre, which he not renew for six years. In this interval it may be assumed that much of his church music was composed. In 1681 he composed another Ode or Welcome Song for the King, 'Swifter, Isis, swifter flow.' On July 14, 1682, he was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal in the place of Edward Lowe, deceased, but was not sworn in until Sept. 16 following. He composed an Ode or Welcome Song to the King on his return from Newmarket, Oct. 21,—'The summer's absence unconcerned we bear,'—and some songs for the inauguration of the Lord Mayor, Sir William Pritchard, Oct. 29. In 1683 Purcell came forward in a new capacity, viz. as a composer of instrumental chamber music, by the publication of 'Sonnatas of III parts, two Viollins and Basse to the Organ or Harpsichord,' with an engraved portrait of himself, at the age of 24, prefixed. These sonatas are 12 in number, and each comprises an adagio, a canzone (fugue), a slow movement, and an air; they are avowedly formed upon Italian models, as the composer in his preface says, 'For its author he has faithfully endeavoured a just imitation of the most famed Italian masters, principally to bring the seriousness and gravity of that sort of musick into vogue and reputation among our countrymen, whose humour 'tis time now should begin to loath the levity and balladry of our neighbours. The attempt he confesses to be bold and daring; their being pens and artists of more eminent abilities, much better qualified for the imployment than his or himself, which he well hopes these his weak endeavours will in due time provoke and enflame to a more accurate undertaking. He is not ashamed to own his unskilfulness in the Italian language, but that is the unhappiness of his education, which cannot justly be counted his fault; however he thinks he may warrantably affirm that he is not mistaken in the power of the Italian notes, or elegancy of their compositions.' In the same year he composed an Ode or Welcome Song for the King, 'Fly, bold Rebellion,' and in July an Ode to Prince George of Denmark on his marriage with the Princess, afterwards Queen, Anne, 'From hardy climes.' He likewise composed an Ode by Christopher Fishburn, 'Welcome to all the pleasures,' which was performed Nov. 22 at the annual celebration on St. Cecilia's Day, the score of which he published in the following year. He also composed another Ode, 'Raise, raise the voice,' and a Latin Ode or motet, 'Laudate Ceciliam,' in honour of St. Cecilia, both of which still remain in MS. In 1684 he composed an Ode or Welcome Song, by Thomas Flatman, 'on the King's return to Whitehall after his Summer's progress'—'From these serene and rapturous joys'—the last production of the kind he was to address to Charles. In 1685 he greeted the new king, James, with an Ode or Welcome Song, 'Why are all the Muses mute?' For the coronation of James and his queen on April 23 he produced two anthems, 'I was glad,' and 'My heart is inditing,' both remarkably fine compositions. He was employed in superintending the erection of an organ in the Abbey expressly for the coronation, and was paid—out of what was then termed the 'secret service money,' but was really the fund for defraying extraordinary royal expenses,—£34 12s. 0d. 'for so much money by him disbursed and craved for providing and setting up an organ in the Abbey church of Westmr for the solemnity of the coronation, and for the removing the same, and other services performed in his said Ma'ties chappell since the 25th of March, 1685, according to a bill signed by the Bishop of London.' In 1686 he returned to dramatic composition, and produced the music for Dryden's revived tragedy 'Tyrannic Love,' in which is the fine duet of the spirits, Nakar and Damilcar (or, as Purcell has it, Doridcar), 'Hark! my Doridcar, hark!' and the pleasing air, 'Ah! how sweet it is to love.' He also produced an Ode or Welcome Song for the King, 'Ye tuneful Muses.' In 1687 he composed another Ode of the same kind, 'Sound the trumpet, beat the drum,' in which is the duet for altos, 'Let Cesar and Urania live,' which continued so long in favour that succeeding composers of odes for royal birthdays were accustomed to introduce it into their own productions until after the middle of the 18th century. Later in the year Purcell wrote his anthem 'Blessed are they that fear the Lord,' for the thanksgiving for the queen's pregnancy, in January 1687–8. In 1688 he composed the songs for D'Urfey's comedy, 'A Fool's Preferment.' With one exception they all belong to the character of Lionel, a young man mad for love, and they express in the most admirable manner the varied emotions which agitate his mind—disdain, despondency, tender affection and wild fantastic delusion.