Peter Prelleur

(ca. 1686 - before 1758 )

Composer, harsichord player and organist, as well as theoretician, born in France but, a Huguenot, lived most of his life in England. He was one of the performers at the Angel and Crown Concerts in Whitechapel, and early known as a harpsichordist. In 1728 he was organist at Saint Alban of London (Wood Street); harpsichordist and composer for Goodman' s Field Theatre. In 1735, he was appointed organist of Christchurch, Spitalfield, performing on the new organ built for the Church by Richard Bridge, which was the largest in Georgian England, with over one thousand pipes, reportedly performed on by Handel. Its best known player was Prelleur.In the same year of 1735, the Goodman Theatre was demolished, and Prelleur is hired for the New Wells theatre in Leman Street, where he produced his most famous work about 1740, Baucis and Philemon.

Prelleur is perhaps best know for his publication The Modern Musicke-Master ( London: 1731, subtitled: the Universal musician), which contains an introduction to singing, as well as to playing the recorder, flute, oboe, violin and harpsichord. It also includes a history of music and a dictionary of music, and is beautifully illustrated. The first few editions of this work were published anonymously.

Frontispiece: The Modern Musicke-Master

VIIA: Henry Purcell and his Contemporaries