Martin Adams

Henry Purcell

Reading sample

The Origins and Development of his Musical Style

Boek (softcover)

Item no.771199
Author/ComposerMartin Adams
Scope404 pages; 15.2 × 22.9 cm
Release year2009
Publisher/ProducerCambridge University Press
Producer No.9780521106917
50.10 €
Delivery time approx. 1–2 weeks.
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This is the first book thoroughly to explore the musical style of Henry Purcell. In this comprehensive study, Martin Adams identifies music by other composers, both within England and from abroad, which influenced Purcell's compositional decisions.

Using a mix of broad stylistic observation and detailed analysis, Adams distinguishes between late seventeenth-century English style in general and Purcell's style in particular and chronicles the changes in the composer's approach to the main genres in which he worked, especially the newly emerging ode and English opera.

As a result, Adams reveals that although Purcell went through a marked stylistic development, encompassing an unusually wide range of surface changes, special elements of his style remained constant. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of music and theatre history and of British cultural and social history.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Part I Stylistic development and influences:
  • 1 Early years at court and home: developments to c 1685
  • 2 Years of experiment: c 1680 to c 1685
  • 3 Consolidation: c 1685 to c 1688
  • 4 Public recognition: c 1689 to c 1691
  • 5 'Meaning motion fans fresh our wits with wonder': c 1692 to 1695
  • Part II Analytical and Generic Studies:
  • 6 'Clog'd with somewhat of an English vein': early instrumental music, the fantasias and sonatas
  • 7 'Bassani's genius to Corelli joyn'd': instrumental music in the odes, the anthems and on the stage
  • 8 Early mastery: sacred music to c 1685
  • 9 Brilliance and decline: sacred music after c 1685
  • 10 'The energy of English words': independent songs fro one or more voices
  • 11 A new genre: odes to 1689
  • 12 Consolidation and maturity: odes from 1689 to 1695
  • 13 Background and beginnings: dramatic music to 1689
  • 14 'An English-man, equal with the best abroad': dramatic music from 1690 to 1691
  • 15 'The pride and darling of the stage': dramatic music from 1692 to 1695
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Indexes