EMMANUELLE DE NEGRI
Henry Purcell was celebrated even during his life as the most illustrious composer of the British Isles; it is no wonder he was given the sobriquet of “Orpheus Britannicus”, for it was he who for the first time gave British music a countenance of its own and an autonomous identity. No less a musician than Nikolaus Harnoncourt wrote of Purcell: “With the advantage of the geographical situation of an island the English were able to isolate themselves from European trends and so develop their own style of art production and consumption. In the Baroque era, in which extravert effects were pre-eminent, the English found content and expressive depth far more congenial.” Henry Purcell influenced the Anglophone world of music more than scarcely any other composer, and this, although he died already at the peak of his powers at the age of 35, after he had put the last of countless songs down on paper, the poignant “From rosy bow’rs”.
The celebrated French soprano Emmanuelle de Negri and the harpsichordist Brice Sailly focus in this concert on the intimate melodies and sounds of the British bard, whose music– alluding to the mythical singer Orpheus – was said yet again to have had therapeutic effects; in accordance with the words of his compatriot William Shakespeare), that music can “minister to a mind diseas’d, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain, and with this sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the full bosom of all perilous stuff that weighs upon the heart..”