Henry Purcell (c. 10 September 1659 – 21 November 1695) was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Benjamin Britten in the 20th century.
This fine and famous "Rondeau" comes from Purcell's "Abdelazer".
"Abdelazer" (The Moor’s Revenge), is incidental music in 10 movements composed to accompany performances of a revenge tragedy of the same name (first performed 1676) by English dramatist Aphra Behn. The music dates from 1695, the last year of Purcell’s life. Although Behn’s play is no longer performed, the music for it remains one of Purcell’s most enduring creations.
The various sections of Purcell’s Abdelazer show the variety that was expected of incidental music. The necessary dance rhythms and character songs are deftly rendered, with moods ranging from slow and gentle to brisk and lively and with nimble passagework for the string ensemble.
The most famous movement is the second, “Rondeau,” owing to the English composer Benjamin Britten’s use of it as the root of his composition The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (1945). In Britten’s work, “Rondeau” is heard only as a fragment, divorced from the rest of Purcell’s score.
This fine arrangement is by Christopher Morris (1922-2015) can be found in "Ceremonial Music for Organ" published by Oxford University Press in 1998.
In this performance, you'll hear the MUCH PERFECTED Solo Tuba, accompanied by the brilliant-sound Hill chorus, in which the mixtures and diapasons sparkle.
The last "section" is repeated, crescendo all the way to almost full organ, with the 32' reed appearing in the final cadence.
The score is attached below as well as a photo of Christoper Morris and a painting of Henry Purcell.