Nicknamed ‘Orpheus Britannicus’, Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) is revered as one of the greatest English composers. He grew up in the family of court musicians and as a young boy was a chorister in the Chapel Royal. When his voice broke, he was appointed assistant to the Keeper of the royal instruments and tasked with tuning the organ at Westminster Abbey, where he was also employed as copyist. At the age of eighteen, Purcell succeeded his teacher Matthew Locke as the composer for “The King’s Violins” – a string consort founded in resemblance of the celebrated “Twenty Four Violins” of King Louis XIV of France. Two years later he succeeded composer John Blow on his recommendation as organist of Westminster Abbey, with a subsequent appointment as one of the three organists of the Chapel Royal. Spending his entire life in service to the court and the church, Purcell wrote music from all genres: sacred and secular, vocal and instrumental, as well as the first ever English opera, Dido and Aeneas.
Nurturing a great passion for the sound of the trumpet with its sublime brilliance, Purcell used it in his odes created on different occasions for English royalty, as well as in his theatrical music. Praises to the trumpet are also sung in the ode Hail, Bright Cecilia.