Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Deliciæ Musicæ, 1696
Daniel Purcell was the younger and less significant brother of Henry Purcell. Daniel composed for the theaters, and the play this mentions, The Indian Queen, is pretty interesting. It was partially written by John Dryden, and is about the conflicts between the ruling houses of the Incas and the Aztecs. It was expanded with music 30 years after it's original production in 1664, becoming something more like an opera.
I like to think the brothers had a feud not unlike Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks. Case in point: Henry wrote most of the music for The Indian Queen, but he died (in 1695) and the theater hired Daniel to finish the score in his place. Daniel's fifth-act music probably sort of sucked compared to big bro's, and I imagine that it dawned on him that he only got the gig because of the family connection. His big break again overshadowed by Henry, even in death. Maybe Daniel was the self-destructive alter-ego of Henry, and they hated each other because in some backwards way, they needed each other to be complete. Tragic! Also, completely speculative. It would be terrific if it was true, though. (And I am aware that no amount of historical background or invented psychological complexity can detract from a Vanilla Ice reference. I apologize.)