Colin Booth's second concert with Capriccio is a delightful exploration of a musical form, the Ground, which was immensely popular in the 17th century. A Ground is essentially a set of variations built around a repeated bass line that often comprised just a few notes. Revel in the lovely melodies & great diversity of English 17th century Grounds with works by William Byrd, William Inglot, Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell, John Blow & William Croft.
English Late-Renaissance through Mid-Baroque music
A Capriccio Concert
COLIN BOOTH, Harpsichord
THE ATTRACTION OF THE GROUNDE
Saturday, May 4, 2019, 7:30pm
(Note: Minor changes may be made to this Program)
Upon La mi re
William Croft (1678 – 1727)
Suite 13 in G: Ground; Minuett
Orlando Gibbons (1583 – 1625)
The Italian Ground
John Blow (1649 – 1708)
Suite 2 in D Minor: Ground; Hornpipe
Suite in A – Ground; Minuet
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Suite in G minor: Prelude; Almand; corant; sarabande; aire.
A Grounde in gamut
A New Irish Tune
William Inglot(dates uncertain)
The Leaves Bee Greene
My Ladye Nevels Grownde
Suite in C minor: Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande; Ground; Aire; Hornpipe; Minuet.
Ground in D minor
Round O (from Abdelazar)
A Note on the Music:
The Ground – or Ground Bass (tautology, really) – is an elementary form of variation. Early examples which were used throughout Europe as a basis for composition were the Passacaglia bass (four descending notes), the Chaconne or Ciaccona, and La Folia, which was slightly more intricate. The name “ground” was the general English term. The form permeated 17thcentury English music, and survived into the 18thcentury, being used to powerful effect by Bach and Handel, and was still used by composers in the 20thcentury. Vaughan Williams, for example, ended his 5thsymphony with an elegiac passacaglia.
A ground consists of a repeated bass pattern, which can sometimes be just a few notes and sometimes a whole line, or two lines, as in the examples by Byrd, Blow and Croft.
The most famous of all from this period, and one of the most subtly disguised, is Purcell’s masterly “When I am laid in earth” – the concluding song from Dido and Aeneas. But Purcell found it an invaluable convenience in his music, throughout his short life.
The aim here is to show the great variety of style and mood which grounds could encompass. But an entire concert consisting of grounds, however varied, would probably be a “surfeit of peaches”. So this programme places the ground in context. In the suites by Blow and Croft, these composers did this themselves, by making an extended ground the principal movement of a short keyboard suite, and simply adding a short, more vigorous piece to complete it. A hundred years earlier, of course, Elizabethan masters did not have a suite to use, since it had not yet been invented, but their grounds are impressive enough to stand by themselves.