Purcell’s “Fantasia in Three Parts Upon a Ground,” Tafelmusik

Back in January, we listened to Henry Purcell’s Fantasia Upon One Note for 5 viols in F major, Z. 745music in which a single pitch is sustained in the tenor voice while the other voices float and weave in seamless polyphony.

Purcell’s Fantasia in Three Parts Upon a Ground offers a similar contrast between stability and unbridled adventure. Here, a series of thrilling variations develop over a recurring ostinato bass line. This was a common compositional technique for composers during the baroque period. (Johann Pachelbel’s iconic Canon in D may be the most famous example). Purcell’s Fantasia in Three Parts Upon a Ground was composed sometime around 1678. For perspective, that is seven years before the birth of J.S. Bach.

This performance by Tafelmusik, a Toronto-based ensemble specializing in early music, is filled with breathtaking virtuosity and a sense of pure joy:


  • Purcell: Fantasia in Three Parts Upon a Ground, Tafelmusik tafelmusik.org

Photograph: The interior of Westminster Abbey, where Henry Purcell was organist from 1679 to 1695. 

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on “Purcell’s “Fantasia in Three Parts Upon a Ground,” Tafelmusik”

  1. Wow! Purcell works not given their due respect . Sad that he did live to average male life span of the age in England. If survived childhood, I suppose 45-50 total years.


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