The jade trees are in bloom, and this morning's rain has left flowers and leaves jewelled with water. I love how each droplet contains a whole inverse world. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The jade trees are in bloom, and this morning’s rain has left flowers and leaves jewelled with water. I love how each droplet contains a whole inverse world. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) is one of my favourite composers. The title of this post comes from his song, ‘Music for a While.’

I particularly like this recording, sung by countertenor, Philippe Jaroussky.

(a bit more than) Six Word Saturday: “music, for a while, shall all your cares beguile”

20 thoughts on “(a bit more than) Six Word Saturday: “music, for a while, shall all your cares beguile”

      • It would πŸ™‚ Purcell, da Vinci, Shakespeare – they were all living and creating in a different world, with different concepts of entertainment, harmony and culture in general.

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      • I’m not so sure of that, actually. The training available in all fields now is so much better than it was even a generation ago. We have become used to music performed almost perfectly. I started to realize this several years ago when I was listening to an LP recording we have of early music that had been released in the 1970s. I was shocked at how out of tune the singers were. In the 70s this particular recording was considered to be one of the finest, and in fact my husband and I would listen to it in awe. What we expect from professional musicians 40 years later is very different than what we expected then. I would still love to go back in time to hear the original performances of the great play writes and composers, but we would need to listen with the ears and expectations of the day in order to appreciate just how groundbreaking they were. πŸ˜‰

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      • That’s really interesting Hannah. It would never have occurred to me that performances could change so much over time. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to experience that. I’d love to have seen first run performances of Shakespeare’s plays.

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      • Me too! They were so good that most of the audience STOOD for the entire performance, as only the nobles could afford seats. The “peanut gallery” consisted of standing room only. And he was so popular that the theaters were packed!! I’d also like to go back and hear original performances of music, so that I could experience, rather than just have an academic understanding, of how dramatically the major composers affected their audiences. But I wouldn’t be able to take my 21st century ear that expects perfection from professional musicians, and I would have to be prepared to hate some of the “new” music at first. Some composers used the accepted forms of composition at the time but were were so brilliant at doing so that they took the music of that time period to a new level of excellence (Bach). Later, toward the end of the 19th century, as it became acceptable to break from societal tradition, some composers (Puccini) established completely new forms of composition and often were, ahem…… not very well received at first. πŸ˜‰


      • I can see you are going to be force for good in my musical education. I’m going to go and listen to some Puccini (whom I have cruelly neglected since I was in my 20s). I think I’ll have to start posting more musical bits to entice you to comment and elucidate for me. πŸ™‚ Hope you’re feeling ok at the moment.

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      • lol! ok, that’s funny. Happy to oblige, though. Disclaimer: I sometimes check things out with my husband. While I know quite a bit of musical history, he knows more. He’s the one today that reminded me that it only became acceptable to deviate from the standard form in all art (painting, literature, sculpture, music, etc), as well as political thought, in the late 19th century. So I can’t take full credit! But it is true that we are a couple of geeky history buffs, so be warned! πŸ˜‰

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    • I think Jaroussky’s performance of this is the best I’ve heard. Actually it has been listening to Purcell’s music that has made me appreciate how differently performers can interpret the same piece of music. I love Jessye Norman’s ‘Dido’s Lament’ and am a bit underwhelmed by most of the other versions I’ve heard πŸ™‚


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