Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Purcell adds Brightness to Triteness

Here's a lovely story contributed by Stella Cullington:

When we lived in Northern Ireland there was a local musical group formed around the 1980s who produced a record to raise money for the Benevolent Fund of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

It was a most illustrious collection of people, the entire tenor section consisted of Doctors of Music. The record was called "Why was Lloyd George born so beautiful?" The last item was introduced with these words:

Henry Purcell was an undoubted genius. By no means the least of his qualities was an extraordinary capacity for enhancing second rate verse with his music, so much so that shortly after his death the phrase was coined "Purcell adds Brightness to Triteness".

It is not generally known that he wrote at least one valedictory song, this one to Nell Gwynne, as she set out on what might be described as a Royal Progress. This was a companion piece to his Coronation anthem "My heart is inditing" and is titled "My tart is out dating".

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