Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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

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There are also rewards " to Mr. Alfonso [Ferabosco], for making the Songes, £20; to Mr. [Robert] Johnson, for setting the Songs to the Lutes, £5; and to Mr. Thomas Lupo, for setting the Dances to the Violins, £5." The viol, the violin players, and other members of the royal band, are not included in the above list, and therefore probably received only their usual payments in the form of salary.
The splendid Court-Masques of the reigns of James I. and Charles I. afforded ample opportunities for the development of the power of Recitative, which gave variety and novelty to the entertainments. Recitative seems to have been first composed in England by Nicholas Laniere, an eminent musician, painter, and engraver, in the service of James I. He was an Italian by birth, but lived and died in England. There were four of the name in James's band—" John, Nicholas, Jerom, and Clement,"—of whom one other, at least, was painter as well as musician. Evelyn says, in his Diary, under the date of Aug. 1,1652, " Came old Jerome Lennier, of Greenwich, a man skilled in painting and music, and another rare musician named Mell" (the violin player mentioned by Anthony a Wood). " Lennier had been a domestic of Queen Elizabeth, and shewed me her head, an intaglio in a rare sardonyx, cut by a famous Italian, which he assured me was exceeding like her." Nicholas Laniere's " Hero's Complaint to Leander, in Recitative Music," gives a very favorable impression of his ability in that style of composition. It is printed in the fourth book of Choice Ayres and Songs, to sing to the Theorbo Lute or Bass Viol (fol., Playford, 1683).
from the introduction of Recitative began a fashion for Italian vocal music, which in the latter part of the reign of Charles I. was so predominant, that scarcely any other was esteemed by the upper classes. They seemed to think that whatever was Italian must be necessarily good; and that, if not Italian, it must be otherwise. This indiscriminate preference is noticed by Henry Lawes in the preface to his first book of Ayres and Dialogues, published in 1653 : " Wise men have observed our generation so giddy," says he, " that whatsoever is native, be it never so excellent, must lose its taste, because themselves have lost theirs. For my part I profess (and such as know me can bear witness) I desire to render every man his due, whether strangers or natives .... and, without depressing the honor of other countries, I may say our own nation hath had, and yet hath, as able musicians as any in Europe. I confess the Italian language may have some advantage by being better smooth'd and vowell'd for music, which I found by many songs which I set to Italian words, and our English seems a little over-clogged with consonants, but that's much the composer's fault, who, by judicious setting, and right tuning the words, may make it smooth enough. This present generation is so sated with what's native, that nothing takes their ear but what's sung in a language which, commonly, they understand as little as they do the music. And to make them a little sensible of this ridiculous humour, I took a table or index of old Italian songs, and this index, which read together made a strange medley of nonsense, I set to a varied air, and gave out that it came from Italy, whereby it passed for a rare Italian song. This very song have I here

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III