From Purcell to Handel: A century in the English chamber
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The century spanning the birth of Henry Purcell (1659) and the death of George Friderich Handel (1759) was fundamental for English music. The former’s semioperas and the latter’s expertise in the configuration of the English oratorio are milestones that define their substantial contribution to the field of music theatre. But their chamber output, which is tied to their duties at court, also reflects the quintessence of their style. Purcell signified the culmination of the genres that were characteristic of seventeenth-century England such as songs for the lute and the viola consort, while Handel combined influences from the Italian style in his cantatas with German origins in his keyboard suites.