The Sonatas of Henry Purcell : Rhetoric and Reversal, Hardback Book

The Sonatas of Henry Purcell : Rhetoric and Reversal Hardback

Part of the Eastman Studies in Music series



Purcell's trio sonatas are among the cornerstones of Baroque chamber music.

The composer himself unassumingly described them as "a just imitation of the most famed Italian masters." However, analysis of their underlying structures reveals that Purcell's modesty hides a highly original blend of Italian models, complex English traditional compositional devices, and his own near obsession with compositional and contrapuntal technique. Alon Schab's pathbreaking Sonatas of Henry Purcell: Rhetoric and Reversal begins with an overview of the two sets of sonatas and their sources, their movement types, and some of the basic compositional and rhetorical procedures they demonstrate.

The book's main part highlights several covert structures that are not necessarily heard but are consistent and played an important part in the compositional process.

Symmetry, both temporal and spatial, governs much of these underlying structures.

Beneath the surface of his studies in Italian style, Purcell created intricate correspondences between the micro and macro levels of the works, as well as unities of proportions and, above all, impressive mirrorlike structures. Schab's book opens an important window to seventeenth-century compositional technique and offers further evidence of Purcell's use of advanced compositional techniques in works that aimed to be pleasurable for the amateur and excitingly thought-provoking for the professional. Alon Schab is a lecturer at the University of Haifa.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 280 pages, 77 Line drawings, black and white; 10 Illustrations, black and white
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of music & musicology
  • ISBN: 9781580469203



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