Henry Purcell

1659 (London) – 1695 (London)

Purcell is generally regarded as one of the greatest English composers, and certainly the greatest of the baroque era, writing both for the church and for the theatre. He was a student – and became a great friend – of Blow, who resigned his position as organist at Westminster Abbey in Purcell’s favour; Blow was devastated at Purcell’s early death. Records of Purcell’s life are unfortunately thin on the ground, and other than his close friendship and frequent collaboration with Dryden, the extent to which he might have known others whose work he contributed music to – Behn, Shadwell, Congreve, most notably – is unknown.

Henry Purcell knew…