Purcell Composer

Henry Purcell arrived into this world in 1659 and was only alive until 1695. In his short life, he managed to establish himself as one of England’s greatest composers – and he is still regarded in the same way today! Although Purcell was influenced and inspired by both Italian and French styles of music, the composer had a remarkable talent for setting English words to music, which earned him the nickname ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ (or, 'English Orpheus'). Purcell held many prestigious positions in his professional life, including being appointed as the organist at both Westminster Abbey (in 1679) and at the Chapel Royal (in 1682). The composer’s connections with the royal courts, of both Charles II and James II, allowed him to master composing odes for royal occasions. In the 1680s, Purcell moved more towards writing for theatre; a genre which he is particularly recognised for. His most popular and well-known theatrical composition is Dido and Aeneas which was first performed in 1689. See below for a few more bits and pieces about one of our favourite composers.