A delightful collection of English songs from the 17th century, constructed around the major influence of the four seasons, and showcasing the great enthusiasm for music, particularly amateur music making, that took place during this era.
During the Commonwealth of England (c.1640–1660), music disappeared almost entirely from religious and court occasions. The use of instruments and music in churches was banned, and organs were destroyed by order of the regime – so the public turned to village and tavern musicians, country dances and new musical clubs for music making. Coinciding with the decline of the Elizabethan madrigal, folk music and settings of the famous poets of the day were popular; similarly, keyboard variations on dance tunes and romantic songs for voice and lute were all the rage, and this continued into the years of the Restoration under Charles II. The monarch’s influence can be detected in the French style of some of the later works, featuring oboe and large groups of strings.
This outpouring of inspired music is captured perfectly in this new collection, performed with insight and sensitivity by Ensemble Le Tendre Amour. Composers featured include Purcell, Playford, Morley, Croft, Lawes, Byrd, Eccles, Ravenscroft and, of course, many anonymous works. From bucolic country music to sophisticated pieces for a gentrified city audience, the music provides a vivid soundtrack to life in the turbulent world of 17th century England.
- New recording, made in June 2011
- Includes extensive booklet notes and complete sung texts