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Synopsis

The Ashgate Research Companion to Henry Purcell provides a comprehensive and authoritative review of current research into Purcell and the environment of Restoration music, with contributions from leading experts in the field. Seen from the perspective of modern, interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship, the companion allows the reader to develop a rounded view of the environment in which Purcell lived, the people with whom he worked, the social conditions that influenced his activities, and the ways in which the modern perception of him has been affected by reception of his music after his death. In this sense the contributions do not privilege the individual over the environment: rather, they use the modern reader's familiarity with Purcell's music as a gateway into the broader Restoration world. Topics include a reassessment of our understanding of Purcell's sources and the transmission of his music; new ways of approaching the study of his creative methods; performance practice; the multi-faceted theatre environment in which his work was focused in the last five years of his life; the importance of the political and social contexts of late seventeenth-century England; and the ways in which the performance history and reception of his music have influenced modern appreciation of the composer. The book will be essential reading for anyone studying the music and culture of the seventeenth century.

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