John Eccles


Born: 1668; London, England   Died: January 12, 1735; Kingston-upon-Thames, London, England  
John Eccles was a fine composer who had the unenviable task of trying to forge a career composing for London's theaters in the era between Henry Purcell and Handel. He was first taught music by his father, Solomon Eccles, who was also a composer. He became an active participant in London's busy theater life in the 1680s. He later joined the King's ensemble in 1694 and was made Master of the King's Music in 1700.

As a theater composer
Read more Eccles wrote incidental music for a adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Dryden's The Spanish Friar, among many others. In 1693 he became the house composer for the Drury Lane theater. In addition to his own works he also collaborated with almost all of London's most prominent composers of the time; including working with Purcell on music for the successful Comical History of Don Quixote and with Gottfried Finger on The Loves of Mars and Venus. In 1701 he came second (to John Weldon) in a competition to find London's best theater composer by setting Congreve's The Judgement of Paris. His last major work for the London stage was a setting of Semele written by Congreve. It was the last throw of the dice for English opera and it ended in disappointment. There were complicated disputes during rehearsals and the project was abandoned and Semele was never performed in the composer's lifetime. Largely due to the Semele debacle, Eccles became increasingly disillusioned with London's musical life, in particular its growing obsession with Italian opera, and he left the city to devote his time to angling. For the rest of his life he continued to write music for his official post, including odes and other occasional works for the monarch, but his output slowed down considerably.

Like many other English composers wedged between Purcell and Handel, Eccles' music is yet to receive the full attention it deserves. He was especially gifted in writing for the voice and his solo songs are among the best examples of the post-Restoration period. He developed a special working relationship with the darling of the Restoration stage, singer and actress Anne Bracegirdle, for whom he composed countless songs. Read less
Browse 1-18 of 18 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Tales of Sound & Fury / Kerem, Tannesen
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2256 Release Date: 05/05/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Heinrich Ignaz Biber,  John Eccles,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Karin Dahlberg
    Conductor:  Terje Tonnesen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Nordica
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  • 2.
    Eccles: Semele / Rooley, Clements, Coble, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9203 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Eccles
    Conductor:  Anthony Rooley
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  • 3.
    Eccles: The Judgment Of Paris, Mad Songs / Curnyn, Crowe, Hulett, Early Opera Company
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 759 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Eccles
    Performer:  Lucy Crowe,  Ben Hulett,  Roderick Williams,  Claire Booth  ... 
    Conductor:  Christian Curnyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Early Opera Company,  Early Opera Company Chorus
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  • 4.
    Anthology Of English Song 1530-1790 / Burrowes, Luxon, Eathorne, Langridge
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2309 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Lawes,  John Eccles,  George Monro,  Richard Leveridge  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Langridge,  Harold Lester,  Paul Robertson,  David Matthews  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Medici String Quartet
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  • 5.
    Play Me My Songs - Eccles, Bononcini, Avison, Geminiani, Handel, Barsanti / Cipriani, Il Falcone
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 612 Release Date: 11/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Charles Avison,  Giovanni Bononcini,  Francesco Barsanti  ... 
    Conductor:  Fabrizio Cipriani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Falcone
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  • 6.
    Crazy - Vivaldi, Handel, Etc / I Furiosi
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90802 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dario Castello,  John Eccles,  Francesco Maria Veracini,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Lucas Harris,  Felix Deak,  Aisslinn Nosky,  Julia Wedman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Furiosi
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  • 7.
    Alfred Deller Complete Vanguard Recordings - Folk Songs And Ballads / 7-Disc Set
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 193 Release Date: 07/22/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Traditional,  John Danyel,  John Dowland,  Philip Rosseter  ... 
    Performer:  Desmond Dupré,  Alfred Deller,  Honor Sheppard,  Maurice Bevan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deller Consort,  London Chamber Players,  Ambrosian Singers
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  • 8.
    Purcell, Eccles, Blow: Mad Songs / Catherine Bott
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 433187 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Daniel Purcell,  John Blow,  John Eccles  ... 
    Performer:  David Roblou,  Catherine Bott,  Mark Levy,  Anthony Pleeth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Consort
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  • 9.
    Musical Hodge-podge
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 9103 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sigismund Kusser,  John Eccles,  Henry Carey,  Tommaso Giordani  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Tubb,  Anthony Rooley,  Michael Fields,  Frances Kelly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Trumpet Virtuosi Choir
    CD: $13.99
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  • 10.
    Songs From The Pleasure Garden - Boyce, Croft, Eccles, Etc
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 101 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Greene,  William Boyce,  William Croft,  John Eccles  ... 
    Performer:  Tristan Gurney,  Jennifer Langridge,  Philip Langridge,  Malcolm Layfield  ... 
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  • 11.
    Cantatas From The Georgian Drawing Room / Ashton, Concert Royal
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25001 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Henry Carey,  John Eccles,  Tomaso Albinoni  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harrison,  John Treherne,  Margarette Ashton,  Rachel Gray  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  York Concert Royal
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  • 12.
    Lost Is My Quiet / Daniel Taylor, Nancy Argenta, Et Al
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 22302 Release Date: 03/02/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Blow,  John Eccles
    Performer:  Daniel Taylor,  Nancy Argenta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Theatre of Early Music
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  • 13.
    Classical Kirkby - Orpheus & Corinna / Kirkby, Et Al
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1435 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Blow,  Thomas Campion,  Maurice Greene,  John Weldon  ... 
    Performer:  Emma Kirkby,  Anthony Rooley
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  • 14.
    Rule Britannia - Purcell, Elgar, Et Al / Wallace, Et Al
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7067 Release Date: 10/17/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Stanley,  Thomas Augustine Arne,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams  ... 
    Performer:  John Wallace,  Edmund Barham
    Conductor:  William Boughton,  John Wallace,  Stephen Darlington,  Alexander Faris
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra,  The Wallace Collection,  Leeds Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 15.
    Rule Britannia: A Stirring Collection Of British Music / Boughton
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 5155 Release Date: 01/07/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  John Eccles,  Henry Purcell,  William Corbett  ... 
    Performer:  John Wallace,  Edmund Barham
    Conductor:  John Wallace,  William Boughton,  Alexander Faris,  Stephen Darlington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Wallace Collection,  English String Orchestra,  Leeds Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 16.
    Pills To Purge Melancholy / City Waits, Wistreich
    Label: Saydisc   Catalog: 382 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  John Eccles,  Daniel Purcell,  William Croft  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Wistreich
    Conductor:  Roderick Skeaping
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City Waites
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  • 17.
    Treasures For Horn And Trumpet / Hustis, Giangiulio
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 512 Release Date: 12/29/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Grimm-Frères,  John Eccles,  Johann Wilhelm Hertel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Gregory Hustis,  William Scharnberg,  David Battey,  Richard Giangiulio  ... 
    Conductor:  Ronald Neal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 18.
    The Art Of The Bawdy Song / Baltimore Consort, Et Al
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90155 Release Date: 02/11/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Church,  John Eccles,  William Cranford,  John Blow  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Becker,  James Weaver,  Alexander Blachly,  Paul Shipper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Consort,  Merry Companions
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