Henry Purcell: The Golden Sonata; Voices of Music

In this video

The opening movements of Henry Purcell’s “Golden Sonata” performed on original instruments by the Early Music ensemble Voices of Music: Allegro, Adagio and Canzona. Featuring Carla Moore and Lisa Grodin, baroque violins (left to right); Elisabeth Reed, baroque cello, Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ, and David Tayler, archlute. High Definition video from the Voices of Music “Purcell Project”. The Golden Sonata is from the collection “Ten Sonnata’s in Four Parts” (London, 1697). Purcell composed more than twenty sonatas, and these represent one of the most important collections of chamber music from the end of the 17th century. Written in the 1680s, the sonatas display both a sense of buoyancy and of introspection: Purcell maintains a delicate sense of humor even in the gloomiest slow movements. In his preface to the reader, he makes clear his admiration for the “fam’d Italian masters”, and the Italian style is clearly present, and intensified by Purcell’s command of motivic development and harmonic structure. The title of Sonata No. 9, the “Golden Sonata,” first appears in a reprint from 1704 with the rubric “That Excellent Sonata in F…call’d The Golden Sonata;” however, the title may derive from Purcell’s imitation of earlier works such as Antonio Bertali’s “Taussent Gulden.”

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