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Three Madrigals

 

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Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Eric Burger

Performance Time: 3:26  |  Grade: 1 1/2  |  Style: Classical, Contemporary

John Dowland was an English Renaissance composer, virtuoso lutenist, and skilled singer, one of the most famous musicians of his time. Little is known of Dowland’s childhood, but in 1580 he served the English ambassador to the French court, and in 1588 he received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oxford. He later traveled through-out Europe, where he was received with esteem by both courts and the public. In 1598 Dowland became lutenist to King Christian IV of Denmark, and from 1609 and 1612 he entered the service of Theophilus, Lord Howard de Walden. In 1612 he was appointed as musicians to King James I.

 

Of his large compositional output, John Dowland’s three books of songs are the most influential. The works found in Three Madrigals are from his “Second Booke of Songs or Ayres” (1600) and his “Third and Last Booke of Songs and Aryes” (1604). The first of these madrigals from the second book is Fine knacks for ladies, cheap, choice, brave and new is an uplifting song of a penny merchant selling pins, laces, gloves and other inexpensive wares for the ladies. Also from the second book is the melancholy song Now cease my wandering eyes about the eternal struggle of being true to the love, and is typical of the lugubrious style that Dowland became famous for. The last wonderful song from the third book is What if I never speed which ponders staying unhappy in a relationship or leaving for yet more unhappiness. This work demonstrates Dowland’s increased maturity in form and harmony which greatly influences other Renaissance composers such as William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons.

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Standard Features

  • Complete part set and spiral-bound or booklet score printed on archival-grade paper.
  • Full-color glossy score cover and jacket.
  • Composer biography.
  • Notes on the piece.
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