Purcell (1659-1695) and his Contemporaries

Ref: C3742689

This 10-week course will explore the life and works of Henry Purcell (1659-1695) - including his church music; Odes; instrumental and vocal works for domestic use; and works for the theatre - linking him with other English composers of the period (including John Blow, Pelham Humfrey and Matthew Locke). We will also identify the "continental" (French and Italian) influences on Purcell and his contemporaries, allied to a particular English style that reflects the political and cultural context of the "Restoration" period.

Course aim

To explore the life and works of Henry Purcell and his English contemporaries: and to discover Purcell's roots in the French and Italian traditions, allied to a particular English style.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the works of Purcell (and of his English contemporaries) that are more representative of the composers' English Baroque style
  • Identify the "continental" (French and Italian) musical influences upon Purcell and other English composers of his period.
  • Appreciate more and enjoy listening to Purcell's (and his English contemporaries') music with a more discerning 'ear'; and discuss its features in class utilising the knowledge gained on this course.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Online Reference Library resources (see: Kent Libraries online website: "Online Reference Library" > "Arts and Music"): Naxos Music Library (an extensive online collection of music recordings)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next

Download full course information sheet

Purcell (1659-1695) and his Contemporaries


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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