A Biographical Dictionary of Old English Music

A Biographical Dictionary of Old English Music

A Biographical Dictionary of Old English Music

A Biographical Dictionary of Old English Music

Excerpt

The history of music in England, dealing with the five centuries that lie between the period which made the Reading rota possible and the death of Purcell, is a story of unimaginable fascination. Yet in spite of the labours of a few faithful workers who fought, with weak weapons, to win their merited place for the musicians of England in the affection and regard of their countrymen, it was only comparatively recently that we awoke to the fact that our musical history is as glorious a one as that possessed by any other country of Europe. We can produce medieval writers of treatises whose knowledge was sufficiently profound to command the respect of their Continental colleagues, and whose experience was great and varied enough to cause instruction to go forth from these islands to the Low Countries and Paris. We can enumerate the names of early writers of polyphonic music whose achievements, whether regarded from the point of view of mere workmanship or the higher ones of taste, feeling, and melodic charm -- have made foreign historians point the condemning finger of scorn at us for our indifference in making our musical heritage accessible to all. We have had madrigalists who, encouraged by the activities of the Netherlanders and the Italians, took a charming form to their hearts and -- bettered their instruction. In short, we are descended from a race which has produced Dunstable, Odington, Power, and Fayrfax; Tallis, Tye, and Robert Whyte; Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Morley, Wilbye, and Weelkes; a host of others -- and Henry Purcell. The state of English music in the past was such that Italian ambassadors wrote enthusiastically in their dispatches on its excellence, foreigners came hither to learn what we had to teach in instrumental music while English virginallists and violists opened the eyes of the Continent to huge possibilities. At the same time organists and writers like Bull and Philips, lutenists like Dowland, Robinson, and Cutting, violists like Thomas Simpson and many others . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.