This is the first study to provide a systematic and thorough investigation of continuo realization styles appropriate to Restoration sacred music, an area of performance practice that has never previously been properly assessed. Rebecca Herissone undertakes detailed analysis of a group of organ books closely associated with the major Restoration composers Purcell, Blow and Humfrey, and the London institutions where they spent their professional lives. By investigating the relationship between the organ books' two-stave arrangements and full scores of the same pieces, Herissone demonstrates that the books are subtle sources of information to the accompanist, not just short or skeleton scores. Using this evidence, she formulates a model for continuo realization of this repertory based on the doubling of vocal parts, an approach that differs significantly from that adopted by most modern editors, and which throws into question much of the accepted continuo practice in modern performance of this repertory.
'… refreshingly undogmatic… The comparisons with the parallel full scores are invaluable here, and the presentation is commendably clear in the music examples given in the text… This is a fascinating study, well presented, and should be read by anyone involved with performing Restoration sacred music.' Choir & Organ ’… a thorough and carefully reasoned study of organ books associated with the major London sacred institutions toward the end of the 17th century.’ Early Music ’Though this book will be of interest only to a limited number of readers, chiefly editors and organists concerned with this particular repertory, it is none the worse for that,and for such as these, it must be regarded as essential reading… The topic itself is one that has not been properly investigated before… it is good to have had it so carefully and conscientiously explored.’ Music and Letters
Contents: Preface; Introduction; The principal characteristics of Restoration organ books; Alteration and addition of material; Distinctions between different genres and sections; Incomplete right-hand parts and figured-bass parts; The unusual case of Matthew Locke; Conclusions; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
This series was originally supported by funds made available to the Royal Musical Association from the estate of Thurston Dart. Its purpose is to provide a medium for specialized investigations of a topic, concept or repertory - studies of a kind that would not normally be feasible for commercial publishers and that would be too long for most periodicals.