Purcell’s contribution to a revival of Aphra Behn’s tragedy, Abdelazer, or the Moor’s Revenge at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane in April 1695 was considerable. He composed, not only vocal music, but also ten instrumental interludes, including this famous Rondeau, which may be said to be part of England’s cultural heritage, since it was incorporated by the twentieth-century composer Benjamin Britten in the opening theme of his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

Purcell, Abdelazer
Rondeau” (extracts), St John’s Smith Square Orchestra, track 9 in The Best of Purcell (Classic CD, issue 57, 1995)


  • CHRISTIE, William & Marielle D. KHOURY. Purcell au cœur du baroque. Paris : Gallimard, 1995.
  • KING, Robert. Henry Purcell. London: Thames and Hudson, 1994.