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April 13, 2005

Henry Fricken' Purcell

at the top of an arrangement of the trumpet voluntary, it appears as though Henry Purcell dedicated the piece to his husband Jack, "for his neverending support and encourangement." That's quite progressive for those days.... But more to the point:

O Henry Fricken' Purcell. Why are you important?

Justify your existence and your fame. I DARE YOU.

What's this?? I think I hear a ghost, and he's talking about music history!!

"I am bloody well VERY important to music history, you fool!!! I wrote the first opera in the english language!!!"

Henry, my dear, ethereal Henry... You only wrote Dido and Aeneas in English because you were working as music director for a private all-girls school then, who probably had TERRIBLE french diction! How do you plead?

"You are twiceforthwith a fool! I am in the Norton CHWM, so you better DARN WELL respect me, even if I have no real artistic merit (which I do, by the way). I will forever be taught as important in the minds of millions of students, thus making me important, for all practical purposes. Why do students study Purcell? So they can teach others about PURCELL someday!!! Mwahahahaha!!!!!"

I will parry. You are thriceforsuethwithmanshireingtion a FOOL'S fool!!! You really aren't very good, Purcell, I'm sorry. The world was smaller back then, that's all. Nowadays we call your works "chamber opera for amatuers." You have failed to justify your existence, so you do not exist in my mind.


And the idea of Henry Purcell vanished in a puff of logic.

And then made more rice and ate it because I was hungry.

Posted by pedalboy at April 13, 2005 1:50 PM | TrackBack

ok, you know i have to comment...overall i agree, but before you completely make him go poof, i'll say a few things.

first of all, purcell doesn't even pretend to occupy the same place as beethoven, chopin, bach, liszt, etc. he wouldn't be justified at all if that was the case. he does deserve what he has though i think.

dido and aeneas is a masterpiece, though it's far from flawless. it's called chamber music for amateurs because amateurs usually are the ones who play it, making it sound...amateurish. try the amazing benjamin britten's "realization" of it.

no, i don't think it's great, but it's good, wagner kicks his ass and there's no comparison. but, especially for the late 1600s, the emotion in the last half of the last act is light years ahead of its time. when done well of course.

and...something good came out of it which justifies it if nothing else does. the recurring theme in NIN's a downward spiral is the famous death motif in "thy hand belinda". (i don't know if it was on purpose, but that would be really cool) i think the last note might be different, i'll have to listen again.

and finally, along the lines of the world being smaller then...he's pretty easily the greatest native english baroque composer. (handel was german though he moved to london) so he got lucky.

Posted by: skaught at April 13, 2005 6:30 PM
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