In this series, conductor Charles Hazlewood explores the development of British music through the lives, times and works of four great composers, each with a major anniversary in 2009. The first programme celebrates the music of Henry Purcell, one of the most seminal but mysterious figures of British musical history. Charles investigates what life would have been like for a composer in 17th century London through a wide range of Purcell's music, from the vast but often overlooked output of tavern songs to his glorious sacred music and pioneering stage works such as Dido and Aeneas. He discovers how Purcell's work is still central to British life today, visiting the Grenadier Guards at Wellington Barracks and attending the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph. Music is performed by Charles Hazlewood's own ensemble, Army of Generals, as well as renowned musicians including Sir John Tomlinson and the Choir of Westminster Abbey.