Date: August 1990
Creator: King, Deborah Simpkin
Description: John Blow (1649-1708) was among the first group of boys pressed into the service of King Charles II, following the decade of Puritan rule. Blow would make compositional efforts as early as 1664 and, at the age of nineteen, began to assume professional positions within the London musical establishment, ultimately becoming, along with his pupil and colleague, Henry Purcell, London's foremost musician. Restoration sacred music is generally thought of in connection with the stile nuovo which, for the first time, came to be a fully accepted practice among English musicians for the church. But the English sacred polyphonic art, little threatened by England's largely political Reformation, embodied sufficient flexibility as to allow it to absorb new ideas, thereby remaining vital well into the seventeenth century. Preserved from decisive Italian influences by the Interregnum, the English sacred polyphonic tradition awoke at the Restoration full of potential for continuing creative activity. In addition to studying Blow's polyphonic compositions, including the transcription of several not available in modern edition, this paper seeks to address the unique nature of the English polyphonic tradition which allowed it to retain its vitality throughout the seventeenth century, while other polyphonic traditions were succumbing to the ossifying influences ...
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