This is the first book thoroughly to explore the musical style of Henry Purcell.
In this comprehensive study, Martin Adams identifies music by other composers, both within England and from abroad, which influenced Purcell's compositional decisions.
Using a mix of broad stylistic observation and detailed analysis, Adams distinguishes between late seventeenth-century English style in general and Purcell's style in particular and chronicles the changes in the composer's approach to the main genres in which he worked, especially the newly emerging ode and English opera.
As a result, Adams reveals that although Purcell went through a marked stylistic development, encompassing an unusually wide range of surface changes, special elements of his style remained constant.
The book will be of interest to students and scholars of music and theatre history and of British cultural and social history.