Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/63

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PURCELL.
51
 

monic Society's Library, and elsewhere. It was probably composed for some projected revival of the play, but, for reasons which cannot now be discovered, the completion of the work by the composition of music for the remainder of the piece was not effected. Purcell also made some valuable additions to the tract upon composition in the later editions of Playford's 'Introduction to the Skill of Musick.'

Purcell's sacred music consists of his church services and anthems, hymns, songs, duets, etc., and Latin psalms. His church music may be divided into two classes, viz. services and anthems, with orchestral accompaniments, and those with organ accompaniment only. The former, with two or three exceptions already mentioned, were composed for the Chapel Royal, the latter for Westminster Abbey. Many of the songs, duets, etc., and a few anthems were printed in the several editions of 'Harmonia Sacra,' 1688, 1693, 1714, etc., and several of the services and anthems in the collections of Boyce, Arnold, and Page. The noble collection edited by Vincent Novello (1829–1832), under the title of 'Purcell's Sacred Music,' includes the Te Deum and Jubilate for St. Cecilia's day, 3 services, 5 chants by different members of the Purcell family, a psalm-tune known as 'Burford,' 20 anthems with orchestral accompaniments, 32 anthems with organ accompaniment, 19 songs, some with choruses, 2 duets, a trio, 11 hymns for three and four voices, 2 Latin psalms, and 5 canons. MS. copies of 3 other anthems, a hymn, and 2 Latin motets, which Novello was unable to meet with, are now known to be in existence.

It will have been observed that Purcell essayed every species of composition. He wrote for the church, the theatre, and the chamber. His church music exhibits his great mastery of fugue, canon, imitation, and other scholastic devices, combined with fine harmony and expressive melody, and the introduction of novel and beautiful forms, enriching it whilst preserving its broad and solemn style. His secular music displays his imaginative faculty, his singular dramatic instinct and skill in marking character, his rare gift of invention, and great powers of expression. Although viewed by the light of our own day, his instrumental chamber compositions appear of an inferior order, they will yet, when compared with those of his predecessors and contemporaries, be found greatly in advance of his time. We see in him the improver of our cathedral music; the originator of English melody, as the term is now understood; the establisher of a form of English opera which was almost universally adopted for upwards of a century and a half; the introducer of a new and more effective employment of the orchestra in accompaniment; the man who excelled all others in his accurate, vigorous, and energetic setting of English words; and the most original and extraordinary musical genius that our country has produced. It is scarcely possible to estimate the loss to English art by the early death of Henry Purcell. Had his life been prolonged for him to have witnessed the introduction into England of the Italian opera and the early career in this country of Handel, what might not have been expected from him?

Several portraits of Purcell are extant; one, taken when a chapel boy, was formerly in Dulwich College; another, by Sir Godfrey Kneller (engraved for Novello's 'Purcell's Sacred Music'), was in the possession of the descendants of Joah Bates; a third was engraved as a frontispiece to the Sonatas, 1683. John Closterman painted two—one, now in the possession of the Royal Society of Musicians, and engraved in mezzotint by Zobel; the other engraved by White for the 'Orpheus Britannicus,' which we have here reproduced. Another, formerly in Dulwich College, and engraved by W. N. Gardiner, has now disappeared.

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4. Edward, youngest, but only surviving, son of the great Henry Purcell, was baptized in Westminster Abbey, Sept. 6, 1689. He was therefore (like his father) only six years old when his father died. When sixteen years old he lost his mother, who by her nuncupative will stated that, 'according to her husband's desire, she had given her deare son good education, and she alsoe did give him all the Bookes of Musick in generall, the Organ, the double spinett, the single spinett, a silver tankard, a silver watch, two pairs of gold buttons, a hair ring, a mourning ring of Dr. Busby's, a Larum clock, Mr. Edward Purcell's picture, handsome furniture for a room, and he was to be maintained until provided for.' Embracing the profession of music, he became organist of St. Clement, Eastcheap. On July 8, 1726, he was appointed organist of St. Margaret's, Westminster. He died about the end of July or beginning of August, 1740. He left a son, Henry, who was a chorister of the Chapel Royal, under Bernard Gates. On the death of his father he succeeded him as organist of