Songs by Henry Lawes
David Munderloh, tenor - Julian Behr, lute -Silvia Tecardi, viola da gamba
Composers: Henry Lawes and John Wilson
Songs by Henry Lawes sung together with preludes for the lute by John Wilson. Henry Lawes and John Wilson – friends and colleagues at Oxford, both members of the King’s Musick and both appointed to the Chapel Royal – make a beautiful pairing of musicians for this recording. Following the emotional thoughts of a young man, perhaps vainly in love with a woman beyond his social status, this programme takes 22 of the over 430 songs from the hand of Henry Lawes and combines them with enigmatic and hauntingly beautiful preludes by his fellow Oxford colleague, John Wilson. This CD, with simple scoring for voice, 12-course lute and viol, provides a unique and rare insight into the music of mid-17th century England and is a small sample of this rich repertoire. In fact, only four of these 22 songs have appeared before on disc. Indeed, choosing which of the 434 songs by Henry Lawes to add to this programme was no small task. Opening the manuscript facsimiles and singing through several pieces at random, Julian Behr, Silvia Tecardi and I quickly determined the best way to build a narrative would be to base our selection not only on the consistently high quality of the music, but also on the descriptive texts. Texts such as In Celia’s face a question did arise, Pale ink, thou art not black enough of hue, to express a mournful sadness or Keep on your vail and hide your eye indicated that an engaging narrative about this young lover could run though the disc. The final piece of the disc implies that perhaps we should not take the effusive statements of love, the deep melancholy or even the despair all too seriously, but enjoy what each emotion brings to the programme.