Orpheus Britannicus

Orpheus Britannicus

Orpheus Britannicus

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Orpheus Britannicus is a collection of songs by Henry Purcell, published posthumously in London in two volumes, the first in 1698 and the second in 1702. In the preface to the first volume, Henry Playford, the printer of the volume and the son of the famous John Playford, extolls Purcell's skill as setter of English texts.

The portrait on the fronticepiece was based on John Closterman's portrait of Purcell, currently in the National Portrait Gallery.

The first publication of a section of Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas was the air "Ah! Belinda" in Orpheus Britannicus, transposed up one step, from C to D.

Henry Hall, who had studied composition with Purcell under John Blow, wrote the dedicatory poems at the beginning of each volume, (1698 and 1702) and also wrote one for Blow's Amphion Anglicus.

The later 1706 London printing of Orpheus Britannicus by William Pearson utilized a new style of music printing to great success, where the notehead was in one piece with the background staff.<!--this could probably be explained better-->

John Blow's Amphion Anglicus (1700), a collection of Blow's songs, excerpts from odes, and chamber music, was published by subscription, after Orpheus Britannicus' success, and...
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