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Purcell: A Biography Hardcover – October 10, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern; 1St Edition edition (October 10, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155553287X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555532871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,517,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ever since the tercentenary of Purcell's birth, in 1959, there has been growing attention by scholars, biographers and musicians to the remarkable body of work of the "English Orpheus," and this latest biography?the second to appear this year?is a worthy addition to Purcellian scholarship. Keates, a fiction writer (like Maureen Duffy before him) as well as a musical biographer, suffers from the same meagerness of primary sources as other would-be Purcell biographers ("A true biography," he says, "is impossible to fashion"); there are very few documents, other than the manuscripts; sketchy records; and almost no anecdotal material. Still, he has made excellent use of his own enthusiasm for Purcell's music to kindle interest even in more out-of-the-way pieces; his detailed treatment of much of the music is the best so far in a popular study. He is intelligent also on the complex religio-political history of the time, and casts a knowing eye on the French and Italian influences on Baroque music, influences that Purcell thoroughly absorbed into a distinctive English style that has inspired native composers ever since. Illustrations, and a helpful index to works discussed in the text.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lars Hinnum on August 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
J. Keates writes entertainingly about the fascinating life and music of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), one of the greatest composer of baroque music. I think this biography must be a near-ideal introduction to the composer.
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