Purcell's music is recommendable to amateur musicians because most of his work was written for them, and is not all that difficult to master. His harpsichord work is popular and very enjoyable beginners' material, especially the dances. His famous opera Dido and Aeneas
, still performed today by the world's most outstanding vocalists, was written for a girl's school in Chelsea
Purcell's emergence was a clear sign of Britain's slow recovery from Protestant puritanism, which had totally banned music except plainsong, culminating in Oliver Cromwell's fundamentalist rule, which ended the year before Purcell was born. It is more speaking of his talent that no British classical composer after him enjoys the same fame. But several before him (John Dunstable, and some of the English madrigalists) do.
yam: yes i was considering that, but note what a nice bunch of softlinks we have in this node now :)