Orpheus Britannicus
Sep 2022


Orpheus Britannicus

Brice Sailly

Friday, September 16, 2022 | 15:00 h
Schlosskirche Bayreuth

Total duration approx. 1h (no break)

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..”


Henry Purcell (um 1659–1695)
„Come all to me“ from Timon of Athens Z.632
„If Musick be the food of love” Z.379

„Oh! Lead me to some peaceful gloom“ from Bonduca Z.574
Bess of Bedlam: „From silent shades, and Elysian fields” Z.370

„The cares of lovers“ from Timon of Athens Z.632
„Ah, how sweet it is to love“ from Tyrannic Love, or the Royal Martyr Z.613

Gentle Shepherds. A Pastoral Elegy on the Death of Mr John Playford Z.464

„Dear Pritty Youth“ from The Tempest Z.631
A New Ground in E minor ZT. 682
The Fatal Hour Z.421

„From rosy bowr’s“ from Don Quixote Z.578

„Hark! The echoing air“ from The Fairy Queen Z.629
Ground in C minor ZD.221
„Sweeter than roses“ from Pausanius Z.585

„They tell us“ from The Indian Queen Z.630
„I attempt from love sickness” from The Indian Queen Z.630


Emmanuelle de Negri Soprano
Brice Sailly Harpsichord

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