Purcell: Chacony (Chaconne) in G minor Z730 arr. wind quintet

Chaconne in G Minor

The Chacony in G minor is one of Purcell’s best known pieces. It dates from sometime around 1680 – which means he’d have been all of 21 when he composed it. It’s based on a freely varied descending tetrachord which technically makes it a passacaglia rather than a chaconne (’chacony’ is just an anglicisation of the French word) and was written to accompany dancing, either at the court or in the theatre. Originally, written for strings and continuo, I have arranged it for wind quintet. It lasts almost 6 minutes at crotchet=80 and I have taken some small liberties with the parts. To enable the players to breath, the 4 individual string parts are spread amongst the 5 members of the quintet, and I have tried to avoid a tutti of all 5.The bass line moves between bassoon and horn. An exciting piece of baroque music.

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