Henry Purcell, Rondeau from Abdelazar, or the Moor's Revenge
Henry Purcell (1659 - 95) is considered the first great English composer. In his brief 36 years, he composed 100 songs, sonatas, church music, and operas still performed today, including Dido and Aeneas and King Arthur. He set Shakespeare to music in his opera The Fairy Queen (based on A Midsummer Night's Dream).
In 1676, the playwright Aphra Behn wrote a play called Abdelazar, or the Moor's Revenge. Purcell wrote incidental music for that play: the incidental music is notable for its rondeau. Benjamin Britten, two-and-a-half centuries later, wrote variations on Purcell's rondeau in his 1946 Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. I will listen to that, and write about it, another day. Today, however, I listened to Purcell's original rondeau.
Here is Thomas Macintosh conducting the London Chamber Orchestra in Purcell's Rondeau from his incidental music to Abdelazar, or the Moor's Revenge (from the 2008 album English Music by Purcell, Arne, Stanley and Chilcot):
The photograph, above, is of Owachomo Bridge, one of the three natural bridges in Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah (Credit: NPS / Andrew Kuhn; used courtesy of the National Park Service). This is the fifteenth of twenty photos of National Parks that I will feature in this blog to honor the centenary of the National Park Service.