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N. Duda

“The Queen’s epicedium” by John Blow and Henry Purcell (on the topic of the funeral musical elegy of the restoration era)

The article is devoted to the analysis of the funeral elegies of John Blow and Henry Purcell in the aspect of the topic of the funeral elegy in the Restoration era (1660–1700). The author believes that the content aspect of elegies of this kind was dictated not only by the musical and poetic tradition, but by the difficult political situation in England. In this tense political situation, Wilhelm’s entourage needed a convincing narrative about the patterns of positive changes in the politics and life of the state as a result of the coming to power of the Orange dynasty and about the undeniable role of Providence. In the works chosen as the subject of the study, there are no allusions to historical events that could serve as a political hint, however, the royalist position of the court musicians is expressed quite clearly. At the same time, composers show themselves as adherents of the academic musical tradition in composing mourning royal panegyrics. This is indicated by the balance and symmetry of the musical form, the use of the genre basis of the minuet as an allusion to an aristocratic person, the introduction of elements of the musical language that fixed the semantics of sadness and mourning, etc. The author comes to the conclusion that, adhering to the framework and laws of the genre, Blow and Purcell managed to create compositions that are completely different from each other. And if Blow looks more conservative in this competitive duet, Purcell managed to create an incredibly lyrical, deeply emotional work with a tangible influence of the dramatic Italian operatic style. The author also points to signs of emerging sentimentality, expressed in certain forms of verbal and musical language, namely in the formation of a lexical and musical “dictionary”.

Key words

funeral elegy, Restoration, Henry Purcell, John Blow, English sentimentalism.

For citation

Duda N. “The Queen’s epicedium” by John Blow and Henry Purcell (on the topic of the funeral musical elegy of the restoration era) // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 116-121.