Purcell Suites Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was one of the greatest English composers of the 17th century. He was only 36 at the time of his death and had spent much of his life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist, and singer, working at Westminster Abbey, and producing music for dramatic works of the Restoration period. Purcell’s Sonata in D Major was created for William Shore, a pioneering lutenist and trumpeter (and inventor of the tuning fork) who helped usher the brass instrument from strictly a military role into an orchestral setting. The solo trumpet sonata was written in 1694, the year before the composer's death. Purcell wrote incidental music for a 1695 revival of Aphra Behn’s tragic play Abdelazer, or The Moor’s Revenge. You may recognize the Rondeau from the suite as the source of the theme and variations in Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.