In this colorful biography, Jonathan Keates deftly traces the life and career of the greatest English composer, Henry Purcell, against the backdrop of the turbulent political, religious, theatrical, and social movements of his time. Following the composer through his extraordinarily prolific career, as chorister at the Chapel Royal, as composer for theater and court, as writer of sacred music, chamber music, and the first British opera, Keates shows how Purcell's musical genius both embraced and transcended the tensions of Restoration England to give his era and culture an unforgettable voice.
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The distinguished writer Jonathan Keates (b.1946) has written several acclaimed biographies and travel books, and his novel Allegro Postillions won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. Keates also reviews regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and teaches English at the City of London School.From Library Journal:
The past three years have seen a veritable flood of tercentennial monographs on the life and works of Henry Purcell, England's preeminent 17th-century composer. Like Maureen Duffy's excellent biography (Henry Purcell, LJ 6/15/96), Keates's work is a marvel of insightful research and witty, elegant prose. The author is no stranger to British baroque music; his biography of George Frederick Handel (Handel: the Man & His Music, Trafalgar Square, 1993) is widely respected for its scholarly authority. In the present volume, Keates, with far fewer hard facts at his disposal, is nonetheless able to conjure up a vivid picture of Purcell's life and achievements amid the turbulent political and musical spheres of the English Restoration. No musical examples are provided, but Keates helpfully points the reader toward recent analytical studies. An excellent, thorough index of Purcell's works is included, in addition to the general index. This is another fine addition to the welcome wave of Purcellania. Smaller music collections that passed on Duffy's work would do well to buy this volume; larger collections should consider both works.
Larry A. Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, Pa.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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