Sunday, 14 November 2010

Purcell Ode and Anthem - La Fenice

Peter Lely, Portrait of Mary II
National Portrait Gallery, London
A Homage to Henry Purcell
Ode and Anthem Celebrate This Festival for the birthday of Queen Mary; Funeral Music for Queen Mary
Concert given at the Basilica of Notre-Dame, Beaune, France as part of the 2009 Beaune International Festival of Baroque Opera

Céline Scheen, soprano 
Hana Blazicova, soprano
Alice Foccroulle, soprano 
Pascal Bertin, countertenor 
Jean-Christophe Clair, countertenor 
Jean-Michel Fumas, countertenor
Phillipe Froeliger, tenor 
Thibault Lenaerts, tenor 
Renaud Tripathi, tenor
Jean-Claude Sarragosse, bass 
Lionel Meunier, bass 
Malcolm Bothwell, bass 
Ensemble La Fenice
conducted by Jean Tubéry

Mary II (1662 - 1694), queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689–94) and wife of King William III. As the daughter of King James II, she made it possible for her Dutch husband to become co-ruler of England after he had overthrown James’s government. Although her father and mother were converts to Roman Catholicism, Mary was brought up a Protestant. In November 1677 she was married to her cousin William of Orange, stadholder of Holland and champion of Protestantism in Europe. She then settled in Holland. During the quarrel (1687–88) between James II and William over James’s pro-Catholic policies, Mary felt it her religious duty to side with her husband. Hence, she agreed to support William’s invasion of England in November 1688. James fled the country in December, and two months later Mary arrived in London.

John Closterman, Portrait of Henry Purcell
National Portrait Gallery, London
 On April 11, 1689, she and William were crowned joint sovereigns of England, Scotland, and Ireland. While her husband was directing military campaigns in Ireland and on the Continent, Mary administered the government in her own name, but she relied entirely on his advice. In the periods when William was in England she willingly retired from politics. She never settled down happily to life in England, however, and continued to be deeply troubled by her estrangement from her deposed father. Mary died of smallpox at the age of 32.

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was commissioned to supply music for the coronation ceremonies of William and Mary. At this time a change in Purcell's music may be detected, for after the Glorious Revolution he turned to opera, to semiopera (a combined opera, stage play, ballet, and masque), and to more impressive sets of incidental music, showing a mastery of dramatic expression which no English composer ever surpassed.

During Purcell's last years he also wrote a great many other important works, including the Ode to St. Cecilia of 1692, six birthday odes for Queen Mary, the Te Deum and Jubilate in D Major, and a host of songs and dialogues. The music that he had composed the previous year for Queen Mary's funeral was also performed during his own in 1695, aged 36.

No comments:

Post a Comment