John Blow: Notes and Commentary

John Blow was an English Baroque composer and organist, appointed to Westminster Abbey in 1669. His pupils included Henry Purcell. In 1685 he was named a private musician to James II. His only stage composition, Venus and Adonis, was thought to influence Henry Purcell’s later opera Dido and Aeneas. In 1687 he became choirmaster at St Paul’s Cathedral, where many of his pieces were performed. In 1699 he was appointed to the newly created post of Composer to the Chapel Royal. Fourteen services and more than a hundred anthems by Blow are known. In 1700 he published his Amphion Anglicus, a collection of pieces of music for one, two, three and four voices, with a figured bass accompaniment. A famous page in Charles Burney’s History of Music is devoted to illustrations of Blow’s “crudities”. These show the immature efforts in expression characteristic of English music at the time. Some of them have since been judged to be excellent. He lived from February 1649 to October 1, 1708. —Excerpted from Wikipedia

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