Compositional Artifice in the Music of Henry Purcell

Compositional Artifice in the Music of Henry Purcell

by Alan Howard

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Fugal invention has proved a successful line of analytical inquiry in recent studies of repertoires from Josquin to J. S. Bach. Alan Howard brings similar insights to the music of Henry Purcell, and proposes the first analytical approach to his music to examine compositional methods alongside historically contemporary theory, focusing particularly on Purcell's 'artificial' approach to imitative counterpoint. Through this methodology Howard challenges previous responses to Purcell's music that portrayed him as fundamentally conservative. This study offers fresh insights into the musical world in which Purcell lived and worked and situates Purcell's compositional concerns in the broader context of notions of artifice in Restoration culture. Howard thereby offers both a fresh analytical approach - to Purcell's early instrumental works and to his later concerted vocal music - and a critique of the reception history surrounding the fantazias and sonatas in particular.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108640848
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/30/2019
Series: Musical Performance and Reception
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 28 MB
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About the Author

Alan Howard is a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he is Lecturer and Director of Studies in Music. His edition of Odes on the Death of Henry Purcell (2013) was published for the Purcell Society, and he has published widely on English music in journals including JRMA, Music and Letters, Early Music, Musical Times and Eighteenth-Century Music. He is also co-editor of the journal Early Music, a member of the Purcell Society committee, a General Editor of the Works of John Eccles and a trustee of Cambridge Early Music.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Purcell's 'Art of Descant': 1. In counterpoint: sources and analysis; 2. Artifice, Fugeing and fantazia; 3. 'The chiefest instrumental musick now in request': canzonas and other sonata fugues; 4. 'The power of the Italian notes': Purcell's sonatas as and in reception; Part II. 'Thou Didst Thy Former Skill Improve': 5. 'Celestial art[ifice]' in Hail, bright Cecilia; 6. Artifice and musical modelling; 7. Augmentation as artifice, artifice as augmentation; 8. 'Italian sonatas in orchestral garb'.

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