Over the last several weeks, David Tayler, co-Director of Voices of Music, has been uploading a fresh round of videos to the Voices of Music YouTube channel. These cover a diversity of styles and feature both solo and ensemble work. The basic summary of the new additions is as follows:
The largest ensemble piece is the opening movement of the second of the concerti grossi in the Opus 6 collection by Arcangelo Corelli. The solo parts in this movement are for two violins (Kati Kyme and Elizabeth Blumenstock) and cello (Adaiha MacAdam-Somer). The ripieno is taken by violinists Lisa Grodin and Maxine Nemerovski, violist David Daniel, and a continuo of Farley Pearce on violone, Tayler on archlute, and Hanneke van Proosdij (Tayler’s co-Director of Voices of Music) on organ.
Next, there are two instrumental solos of note, one by each of the co-Directors. Proosdij gives a harpsichord performance of “l’Harmonieuse,” a rondeau by Jean-François Dandrieu. This is a movement from his C minor suite, which was included in the first book of his keyboard music, published in Paris in 1724. Tayler’s contribution, on the other hand, is an archlute performance of the Allemande movement from Johann Sebastian Bach’s BWV 1013 partita in A minor. Bach composed this partita for solo flute, but the arpeggio patterns of the opening movement of this partita fit particularly well as an archlute performance.
Finally, there is a new video from last January’s concert, The Great Poets from Shakespeare to Dryden, from which three videos have already been uploaded. This concert featured a visit from England by soprano Anna Dennis. The selection for the new video is “O death, rock me asleep,” also known as “Anne Boleyn’s lament.” This is a perfect example of the lament form with the repeated motif of a descending bass line.
However, both the author of the text and the composer of the music are unknown. A case can be made that Boleyn was responsible for both. Another possibility is Philip van Wilder, musician and lutenist at the court of Henry VIII, although such a composition would have been risky, since Boleyn died by order of the King. Another candidate is Alfonso Ferrabosco I, who served Elizabeth I and could have composed the work to honor the Queen’s mother.
The spirit of lamentation is reinforced in this performance by a preference for low strings. The theme is introduced first by viola (Lisa Grodin) and gamba (Elisabeth Reed). Only after that introduction do the violins (Carla Moore and Gabrielle Wunsch) enter. The remainder of the continuo is shared by Tayler on archlute and Proosdij on organ.