The late seventeenth century was a period of great change in English music. This was a time when the influences of Italian music were ever-increasing, brought to England by Italian composers such as Draghi, Haym, and Matteis, and by their German contemporaries Pepusch and Handel. In this new release we explore how the English composers Purcell, Weldon, and Croft responded to Italian music and incorporated the style into their own works. The piece by Purcell, Tell me, some pitying angel (or ‘The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation’), written in the style of an Italian cantata, perfectly illustrates his mastery of the Italian style.
This distinctive blend of English and Italian influences also became evident in the works of many European composers in England, as they adopted the native English style and form. In fact, the English legacy can be heard in the music of Draghi, Courteville, Matteis, Handel, Pepusch, and Haym, almost as clearly as in the music of their English contemporaries. Draghi’s trio sonata is a prime example of this. It seems to have been influenced by English consort music, and its short, contrasted sections and unexpected harmonies are far removed from the sonatas that composers were writing in Italy at the time.
The works on this release are performed by Peter Holman’s early music group The Parley of Instruments, which today is recognised as one of the leading exponents of baroque music. The ensemble’s trail-blazing work in English eighteenth-century music has led to collaborations with soloists such as Catherine Bott, Crispian Steele-Perkins, and ElizabethWallfisch. On this release, the group is joined by the soprano Philippa Hyde, with Peter Holman, conductor and founder of The Parley of Instruments, playing the harpsichord and organ.