Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Throughout this project I have had in my mind at least, if not actually on the record player, a soundtrack of Elizabethan music. It is heavy on the Dowland even though his First Book of Songs was not published until 1597, because I find his music endlessly fascinating. I have also been delving into the consort songs of William Byrd and it has become the joke in our house that we are the "Come to me Grief Forever" all the time channel.

I wanted to share some of the recordings I've been listening to in an ongoing series of posts called Soundtrack. The first album is L'Oiseau-Lyre 443 187-2, a reissue of a 1981 recording with Anthony Rooley and the Consort of Musicke, called William Byrd: Psalmes, Sonets & Songs. The collection has selections from Byrd's 1588, Psalmes, Sonets and songs of sadnes and pietie, made into Musicke of five parts. The book contained at the end the two funeral elegies for Sir Philip Sidney, the aforementioned "Come to me Grief Forever," and the ravishingly beautiful, "O that Most Rare Breast." The poetry of the latter at least having been penned by Sidney's dear friend Sir Edward Dyer. The CD ends with those two numbers as well and is well worth seeking out. It is out of print but copies do turn up on Amazon.

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