First Edition of an Important English Music Title

    Henry Purcell. Orpheus Britannicus. A Collection of all the Choicest Songs, for One, Two, and Three Voices, compos'd by Mr. Henry Purcell. Together, with such Symphonies for Violins or Flutes, as were by him design'd for any of them: and a Through-Bass to each Song. Figur'd for the Organ, Harpsichord, or Theorbo-Lute. All which are placed in their several keys according to the order of the Gamut. [Together With:] The second book, which renders the first compleat. London: J Hepinstall; William Pearson for Henry Playford, 1698-1702. First editions. Two folio volumes. ¹-2+1,A-3R2; ¹2, (a)2, B-Y2. 2, vi, [2, Table placed after dedication], 248; [4],ii, [2 ads], 176 pages. Two portrait frontispieces by Robert White after Johann Closterman (1660-1711), title-pages in red and black. Nineteenth century half calf, spine banded, rubbed, titles gilt on black leather labels - slightly chipped, bookplate of Thomas Bever, LLD with date in hand "Coll: Omn. Anim. Socius 1783" Frontispiece and title-page of first volume trimmed and laid down, first leaves of volume one stained, occasional foxing, occasional notes in nineteenth century [?] hand ("T. O."). A very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Henry Purcell (1659-1695), organist and composer. "The two books of Orpheus Britannicus, which contained songs and vocal ensembles by Purcell, including movements extracted from longer works, were issued in 1698 and 1702 by Henry Playford... Although Purcell was one of the greatest and most individual of English composers, his music was as much a product of the age in which he lived as of his nationality. He belonged to a vigorous but by no means insular English musical tradition and himself responded both to the French influence favoured by Charles II and to Italian music. His musical knowledge demonstrably extended from English polyphony of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to contemporary Italian vocal and instrumental writing, and his works draw upon a wide variety of stylistic resources. He excelled in the setting of English words, in his last years coming close to establishing a form of music drama distinct from Italian opera and acceptable to English audiences. (Oxford DNB).

    Poems in honor of Purcell by John Dryden, Henry Hall, Nahum Tate, J. Talbot, John Gilbert, Henry Playford, etc.

    Wing P4218. ESTC r231719, t153688. Day and Murries, 166. RISM P 5979, 5983. Hazlitt II, 504. Lewine 434. Macdonald, Dryden, 32b.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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