Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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472                                                   MUSIC OF LONDON.
Corantos, &c.; and, in the reign of James I., such collections as that of " Courtly Masquing Ayres, composed to five and six parts, for Violins, Consorts, and Cornets, by John Adson,a 1621;" and others already mentioned.
Roger North says, " The French manner of instrumental music did not gather so fast as to make a revolution all at once; but, during the greater part of Charles the Second's reign, the old music was used in the country and in many meetings and societies in London. But the treble viol was disregarded, and the violin took its place." English musicians were willing to give the palm to the Italians in vocal music, after the invention of recitative; but they claimed to rank above every nation in instrumental music; and, so far as I can trace, that claim was commonly admitted and well founded.
" None give so harsh a report of Englishmen as the English themselves," says Henry Lawes,—a remark which is too frequently true; but it is a national peculiarity, the boundary of which is strongly marked by the river Tweed, and which, happily for our neighbours, has never extended to the northern bank of that stream. Charles, although of Scottish descent, was born far south of it; and to his opinion I would oppose that of Count Lorenzo Magalotti, a Florentine, and one of the most eminent characters of the brilliant court of Ferdinand II., Grand Duke of Tuscany. Magalotti (to whom Sir Isaac Newton gave the name of " il magazzino del buon gusto") wrote his journal while making a tour in England in 1669, and acting as Secretary to the hereditary Prince of Tuscany, afterwards Cosmo III. In describing the plays that were represented at the London theatres, he says, " Before the comedy begins, that the audience may not be tired with waiting, the most delightful symphonies are played; on which account, many persons come early to enjoy this agreeable amusement." (Travels of Cosmo III., Grand Duke of Tuscany, p. 191, 4to., Lond., 1821). This is un­fortunately the only notice of secular music throughout the diary, for his object was to describe the country and to collect statistics, rather than to draw com­parisons of manners and customs, or of the state of the arts.
We have also favorable testimony from the Sieur de la Serre, Historiographer of France, who accompanied Mary de' Medici to London, in 1638. He says, in his " description of the city of London," that " in all public places, violins, hautboys, and other sorts of instruments are so common, for the amuse­ment of particular persons, that, at all hours of the day, one may have one's ears charmed with their sweet melody." Again, "The excellent musicians of the Queen of Great Britain sang," &c. I have read many accounts of foreigners travelling in England in and before the seventeenth century, but never yet found-one to speak with the slightest disparagement of the music. The criticism, which is usually to be found in their travels, is invariably favorable.
Roger North, giving credit to the Italians for having first printed Fantasias, says that " the English, working more elaborately, improved upon their pattern,
• The above work was "printed by T. S., for John      is in Marsh's Library, Dublin. They are the "Cantus,
Browne, and to be sold in St. Dunstan's Churchyard, in      Tenor, Bassus, Medius, and Sextus." Adson composed
Fleet Street." It was dedicated to " George, Marquisse      one popular tune to which ballads were sung, called
of Buckingham." A copy of five, out of the six parts,      " Adson's Saraband."







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