Personalities | Pelham Humfrey | Early Baroque | Classical
Humfrey’s precocious gifts became apparent when, as a chorister, he started to compose anthems for the Chapel Royal in England. The wider world beckoned, however, and in 1664 he set out for France and Italy to familiarize himself with continental styles in music. He returned to England in 1667 and was appointed a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. Much of Humfrey’s sacred vocal writing has an Italian bias, while his deployment of instruments reveals a debt to Lully. These skills, notwithstanding the contrary opinion of his contemporary, Samuel Pepys, enhanced Humfrey’s distinctively expressive handling of the English language with its vivid word-painting.
Verse Anthems soloists, Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Romanesca (dir) Nicholas McGegan (Harmonia Mundi)
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