Henry Purcell, the greatest English composer of the Baroque era, enjoyed such great recognition by his contemporaries that he was called Orpheus Britannicus – the British Orpheus. A concert dedicated to the patroness of music St. Cecilia will be performed by the Wrocław Baroque Ensemble conducted by Andrzej Kosendiak.
The programme is all-Purcell. The evening will begin with the performance of a Spanish dance in triple metre, i. e. Chaconne in G minor, Z. 730. We will also hear the popular Fantasia Upon One Note Z. 745 and Sonata No. 1 in B minor Z. 802, known for numerous recordings and interpretations.
Funeral Sentences, or Man That Is Born of a Woman Z. 27, In the Midst of Life Z. 17A and Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of Our Hearts Z. 58C, are works written in 1695 to mark the funeral services for Queen Mary II Stuart, who died at the age of just thirty-two. The composer used the texts collected in the Book of Common Prayer. The result was a music full of dignity, toned down, devoid of more dramatic accents, thus suitable for the sombre event.
Completely different in terms of mood are Raise, Raise the Voice Z. 334 and Welcome to All the Pleasures, i.e. the two odes to St. Cecilia. The first, consisting of four movements and distinguished by a cheerful mood, was written by Purcell in 1685. Welcome to All the Pleasures is the earliest work that Purcell composed in honour of this saint; he used a text by Christopher Fishburn. It was commissioned by The Musical Society of London and had its premiere in November 1683 in the York Buildings of London, the first concert hall in the city. The ode consists of nine movements. It begins with the instrumental Overture, followed by vocal-instrumental movements (only the seventh movement, the Interludium, is entirely instrumental).