BMC 9
HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695):
NINE TRIO SONATAS (pub. 1697)

Carl Pini and John Tunnell, violins
Anthony Pini, cello
Harold Lester, harpsichord

1. Sonata No 1 in b minor, Z802
    Adagio – Canzona –Largo – Vivace – Grave
2. Sonata No 2 in E-flat Major, Z803
    Adagio – Canzona – Adagio – Largo – Allegro
3. Sonata No 3 in a minor, Z804
    Grave – Largo – Adagio – Canzona – (Allegro) – Grave
4. Sonata No 4 in d minor, Z805
    Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Vivace – Largo
5. Sonata No 5 in g minor, Z806
    Adagio – Canzona – Largo – (Adagio) – Presto – Adagio
6. Sonata No 6 in g minor, Z807 - (Chaconne: Andante)
7. Sonata No 7 in C Major, Z808
    Vivace – Largo – Grave – Canzona – Allegro – Adagio
8. Sonata No 8 in g minor, Z809
    Adagio – Canzona – Grave – Largo – Vivace
9. Sonata No 9 in F Major, Z810 - "The Golden Sonata"
    (Allegro) – Adagio – Canzona – Grave – Allegro

Total Time: 73:54

Henry Purcell was the finest and most original composer of his day. Though he was to live a very short life, he was able to enjoy and make full use of the renewed flowering of music in England following the Restoration of the Monarchy.

In addition to his royal duties - he worked in Westminster for three different Kings over twenty-five years - Purcell devoted much of his talent to writing operas, or rather musical dramas, and incidental stage music.

He also became involved with the growing London public concert scene for which he wrote chamber music in the form of harpsichord suites and trio sonatas. In these varied and highly enjoyable works Purcell expresses his own special technique of modulation and transition, his highly personal melodic sense and his ability to employ bold strokes of chromaticism which catch the listener unawares and add that highly distinctive Purcellian touch.

Performances are, yes, on period instruments (all three string players perform on 18th century instruments), but not in the style known today as "authentic". Tempi are chosen to bring out the qualities of the music, be it reflective or lively, not to show off the performers' dexterity. Vibrato is used to give the violins that singing quality much prized in Purcell's time, and the overall sound is pleasing to the ear.

Music Sample: Tr7 Sonata 7 opening

Denis Stevens Biography

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