Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Purcell Collection

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

The Purcell Collection

Article excerpt

BRITTEN, BENJAMIN (1913-1976). THE PURCELL COLLECTION. Realization by Benjamin Britten. Music by Henry Purcell. The Figured Basses realized by Benjamin Britten. The Vocal Parts edited by Peter Pears. High voice (50 songs) and low voice (45 songs) volumes. Boosey & Hawkes, 2008 (Hal Leonard).

Benjamin Britten was a great admirer of the music of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), England's greatest composer before the twentieth century. In the 1930s and 1940s when Britten and tenor Peter Pears were concertizing in many different countries, they always performed a group of Purcell songs. The printed music to these songs at that time did not offer much in the way of interest in the realizations of the vocal and bass lines that Purcell wrote, so Britten set out to make his own realizations. Knowing that Purcell's own realizations were improvised in performance, and working well before there was much research in the performance practices of the early Baroque era, Britten decided to create his realizations to reflect the various moods and images in the song texts while being faithful to Purcell's vocal and bass lines and the figured bass indications when they were in Purcell's manuscript, which was not always the case. …

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