{Free Audible} Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Clarendon Paperbacks)Author Ellen T Harris – Stg2bio.co

Purcell s Dido and Aeneas stands as the greatest operatic achievement of th century England, despite the fact that it was originally composed not for the public theatre but for a private girls school in Chelsea and takes little than an hour to perform Ellen Harris examines the work, s historical position in the Restoration theatre, and shows that, far from being an operatic anomaly, it was deeply rooted in th century English theatrical and music traditions Her book summarises the cultural climate in which Dido and Aeneas was composed, surveying the choice of subject matter and analysing Nahum Tate s libretto in the light of th century English conventions of the writing of text for musical setting It goes on to evaluate the various surviving sources all of which post date the first performance by at leastyears and compares them with the original libretto, discussing the various inconsistencies that arise There is also a detailed discussion of contemporary musical declamation and ground bass composition The final section of the book is concerned with the work s performance history and critical reception from the first performance, through the late th century adaptation, to the revivals of the th and th centuries, The Appendices include a historical survey of national premieres and of editions, and a critical discography


3 thoughts on “Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (Clarendon Paperbacks)

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  2. klavierspiel klavierspiel says:

    Ellen Harris guidebook on Purcell s work, arguably the greatest English opera before Benjamin Britten s string of twentieth century masterpieces, accomplishes a lot in not very many pages She devotes the first part to the libretto by Nahum Tate, placing it within the context of his other works and Restoration drama in general, and also comparing it to its source, Virgil s Aeneid Perhaps the most interesting conclusion she reaches is that, though Dido was given originally with an allegorical Prologue for which the music is now lost , the nature of the opera itself means it is most likely not allegorical, contrary to the assertions of some other writers This is followed by a discussion of the most important extant manuscript sources, including the one copy of the libretto from the first production in 1689, and the earliest and therefore most important copy of the music, the so called Tenbury manuscript dating from much later, probably around 1775 It is this source on which most of the best current editions are based She then turns to the work itself, discussing its musical aspects such as Purcell s concern for symmetry and tonal unity, his skill at setting the English language, and his use of ground bass techniques Again, one notes the care with which the composer s work is set within its historical context and compared and contrasted with his contemporaries both in England and on the Continent The final portion of the book comprises a history of Dido s performances and recordings since its composition, and the various alterations that were made in both text and music to suit contemporary taste, followed by a general return to a authentic performance style in the later twentieth century The turning point was probably around 1950, with the appearance of an edition by Benjamin Britten and the work s revival with the great Kirsten Flagstad In recent years good recordings of Dido and Aeneas have proliferated I note a current one starring Susan Graham, for example and the lack of an up to date discography is a drawback Harris book was published in 1987 However, that is the only feature lacking in this otherwise consistently informative, lucidly written volume.


  3. Mark Shilansky Mark Shilansky says:

    Easy to read prose style and clear diagrams, yet it is a thorough musicological source Enlightening some new revelations about the Opera s first performance.