Five English Baroque Compositions for Organ
from  Two Composers

Henry Purcell    Trumpet Tune, Rondeau, & Chaconne
Jeremiah Clarke ♦  Trumpet Voluntary,  & Ground

Complimentary Score available in August 2023


Henry Purcell was born in London circa 1659. He began his musical career as a chorister in the Chapel Royal, then as organ tuner at Westminster Abbey.  In 1677 he was appointed as composer-in-ordinary for the violins, then organist of Westminster Abbey in 1679. In 1682 he became an organist at the Chapel Royal, and subsequently keeper of the king’s instruments. He died in London in 1695. His Trumpet Tune in D Major, from Musick's Handmaid, Part II (Twelve Lessons), is a regal and familiar composition in the genre of a processional; its repetitions are realized here in varying textures and voicings that allow for greater contrast and registrational variety on the organ. The Rondeau, from the incidental music composed for the drama, Abdelazer, appears (in a diminished meter) in his Lessons for keyboard. It is also featured as the theme of Benjamin Britten’s A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. The elegant Chaconne from King Arthur is a literal transcription from the original scoring for strings, with editorial suggestions for varied and contrasting dynamic levels and timbres. Unlike both Couperins’ treatment of the chaconne as a rondeau, Purcell’s structure in King Arthur’s First Music’ (i.e., an overture or sinfonia), is that of a passacaglia, in which a ground bass of four-squared length (eight bars of music in this instance) is repeated with varied harmonies, textures, and rhythms in its acompanimental voices. Purcell introduces additional contrast by means of an intervening modulation to the parallel minor key, with an eventual return to the original major tonic.

Jeremiah Clarke was born in London (ca. 1673) and died there in 1707. He studied with Henry Purcell and served in positions at Winchester College, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and at the Chapel Royal. His compositions include services and anthems, as well as a number of keyboard works. The selections from his music include a trumpet tune, the traditional Prince of  Denmark’s March, form a round [A 'Round' here, as in a rondo, i.e. A-B-A-C-A-B-A] is notated for a solo trumpet and freely edited (or realized) to include the use of contrasting registrations for the repeated sections. The original meter is notated in 2/2, i.e. in alla breve or cut time, altered in thisedition to indicate a morestately tempo. A Ground with Twelve Variations is a  charming movement in the tradition of the basso ostinato and chaconne. The Segno [: :] appears in the source manuscript with repeat dots before and after, suggesting that the four measures of Variation 1 are to be repeated as a refrain after each subsequent variation, in the manner of a French Chaconne or Rondeau.