Henry Purcell

Henry Purcell is considered one of the greatest composers of England. He imbued Italian and French influences into his Baroque music, but still managed to keep his music very typically English.

He was probably born in 1659, in London. In 1669 he was chorister at the Royal Chapel until his voice broke in 1673. He then held other positions, all connected to the Royal Chapel: assistant-treasurer of the Royal Instrument Collection, copyist and was responsible for the tuning of the great Westminster pipe organ. He also took lessons in composition from John Blow, with the result in 1677 of being appointed "composer without fee to His Majesty". This was the start of a great career as a composer.

In the mean time, he married Frances Peters, who gave birth to their 6 children. At court he survived the frivolities of his King and the intrigues of the king's successors. He composed unperturbed and assured his future by making theatre music. On November 21, 1695 Purcell died as a consequence of pneumonia. He was only 36 years old.

Henry Purcell
1659 - 1695



We are glad to provide a fragment of his music. Use the music player beneath. The performers are 'The Adhocsingers'. This choir specializes in choir music and literature from the 15th thru 20th centuries.

The song presented "Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei" is based on Psalms 3.


A special Thank You to 'The Adhocsingers' for their kind permission to use this music fragment on our website.


Music piece: Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei





Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei!
Quam multi insurgunt contra me.
Quam multi dicunt de anima mea;
non est ulla salus isti in Deo plane.

Jehovah, how many are my enemies,
how many rise up against me,
how many say of my soul:
Clearly there is no salvation for it in God.

Tenor solo:

At tu, Jehova, clypeus es circa me;
gloria mea, et extollens caput meum.

But thou, Jehovah, art a shield around me,
my glory and the lifter up of my head.


Voce mea ad Jehovam clamanti,
respondit mihi e monte sanctitatis suae maxime.
Ego cubui et dormivi, ego expergefeci me;
quia Jehova sustentat me.

With my voice crying to Jehovah,
he replied to me mightily from the mountain of his holiness.
I lay down and slept, I rose up again,
for Jehovah sustained me.

Bass solo:

Non timebo a myriadibus populi,
quas circumdisposuerint metatores contra me.
Surge, Jehova, fac salvum me Deus mi;
qui percussisti omnes inimicos meos maxilliam,
dentes improborum confregisti.

I will not be afraid for ten thousands of the people,
whom surveyors have placed around against me.
Arise, Jehovah, help me, O my God;
for thou who smitest all mine enemies upon the cheekbone,
thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.


Jehova est salus:
super populum tuum sit benedictio tua maxime.

Jehovah is salvation:
may thy blessing be greatly upon thy people.



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