Purcell is considered by some to be the foremost English composer in the history of Western music. Although he incorporated influences from French and Italian schools of thought into his music, he developed a uniquely English Baroque style.
No record of Purcell’s baptism survives but his date of birth is likely 10 September of 1959; this is based on his memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey and the frontispiece of his Sonnata’s of Ill Parts (London, 1683)
As a boy, Purcell sang in the choir of the Chapel Royal until his voice broke in 1673, at which time he was appointed the unpaid assistant to John Hingeston, keeper of the king’s instruments. It can also be said with near assertion that he studied with John Blow and Christopher Gibbons after leaving the choir. Matthew Locke also proved to be a very important influence, as shown through Purcell’s dedication of the elegy What hope for us remains now he is gone? Z472 (published 1679) to him.
In 1677, Purcell replaced Locke as the composer for the court violins, though he wrote very little music for the violin group at the time. Instead, he focused on sacred music, including three symphony anthems (z28, ZN66, ZN68), all of which he finished within the year. In the same year, he also scored and edited anthems by other composers out of the scorebook GB-Cfm 88.