We have recorded two videos with Francis Rumsey playing Henry Purcell’s Dance for the Fairies and Bourée from Amphitryon on the Regent Classic Chamber Organ.
Henry Purcell – One of the greatest English composers
Henry Purcell is considered by many to be one of England’s best composer of the Baroque era. He was born in 1659 (died in 1695) to Henry Purcell, master of choristers at Westminster Abbey, and his wife Elizabeth.
Purcell was already a great keyboard virtuoso by his late teens and just twenty when he was made Organist of Westminster Abbey – which was one of the biggest jobs in music at this time. Later on (1682) Purcell was appointed organist at the Chapel Royal, his most prestigious post at the time.
In 1689 Purcell had great success with the production of Dido and Aeneas. He also collaborated with John Dryden on King Arthur in 1691, and composed the music for The Fairy-Queen (1692), based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Both of these productions being very successful in the end.
Dance for the Fairies from “The Fairy Queen”
Henry Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” dates from 1692, just three years before this great English composer’s untimely death at the age of only 36. It is part of a performance tradition popular at the time in which supernatural characters such as gods and fairies took the principal narrative roles. Here we have Titania and Oberon, queen and king of the fairies, known to many from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“Dance for the Fairies” is music for one of a number of short dance interludes in this semi-opera. It provides an opportunity for some contrasting registrations on the chamber organ, finishing up by adding the 2’ Principal to the 8’ and 4’ flutes.
Henry Purcell’s Bourée from Amphitryon
Another Purcell work in similar fantastic vein was “Amphitryon”, an adaptation by the then Poet Laureate John Dryden based on an earlier working of a Greek myth by Molière. Here Amphitryon’s wife is wooed by the god Jupiter (Zeus), leading to the birth of Hercules.
This Bourée is one of the many delightful musical dance interludes from the work. It provides a good opportunity to show off the contrasting registration options on the chamber organ.
About Regent Classic Chamber Organs
Our digital chamber organs are a smaller scale version of our bespoke church organs offering a lightweight, flexible solution to your musical needs. The compact nature and the internal audio system make this instrument ideal for use in continuo roles alongside other musicians, or as a complement to a main organ in a cathedral or larger church. It is also perfect for smaller churches, school chapels or a home environment.
Read more about our bespoke chamber organs and/or how you can hire a chamber organ for an event or concert. We’ve also recorded two well-known arias from Handel’s Messiah to demonstrate the Regent Classic Chamber Organ in an accompaniment role.
Find more videos like the one below describing our church and chamber organs in more detail on YouTube.
You can also watch the Purcell videos above on YouTube – don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.