🎻♫♪ – The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
69/501Title: The Fairy Queen
Composer: Henry Purcell
Nationality: English

Today was a working from home day because it is the height of the July 2019 heatwave and my train line into work were operating a partial service as a way to prevent the tracks from buckling from the stress. So I sat at the dining table with two fans pointed at my head, pre-cooked beef in the fridge (more on that in tomorrow’s post) and a 17th century opera playing on the speakers.

Well, I say The Fairy Queen was an opera. This is one of those early opera pieces that isn’t quite there yet. A very large proportion of The Fairy Queen is made up of instrumentals and dances, which makes this more of a masque than a straight opera. There are still a number of sung sections (the recording I listened to featuring some exceptional enunciation by the male lead) with the story itself coming from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream… which is a play I still have neither read nor seen an adaptation for.

I kinda wish that the music and the singing gave a better hint for the fantastical setting of the story, but on the whole it was a really pleasant listen and somehow thematically made sense as it is midsummer right now. I can only imagine how colourful a stage adaptation would have been. Still though, this is so much better than all the chanting music from the earlier sections of the list.


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