Capriccio presents Colin Booth, acclaimed English early keyboardist, recording artist, keyboard builder/restorer, & author in his Washington DC debut. He performs works by two titans of Early English music: William Byrd, a composer of extraordinary ability who was key in helping develop an English national style; & Peter Philips, a gifted & prolific composer little-heard in the U.S. Enjoy a fascinating evening of Early English music repertoire with a master of the genre! Pre-concert fine wines and canapés offered from 6:15pm; Concert commences at 7:30pm
English Music of the late-Renaissance through Early Baroque
A Capriccio Tiny Concert
COLIN BOOTH, Harpsichord & Virginals
QUEEN ELIZABETH: HER MUSICKE
Keyboard music by two masters of the first Elizabethan age
William Byrd (1543 - 1623) & his pupil Peter Philips (1560 - 1630)
(Note: Minor changes may be made to this program)
Lord Willoby’s Welcome Home
The Queen’s Alman
Miserere in 4 Parts
Third Pavan and Galliard (My Lady Nevill’s Booke)
The Carmen’s Whistle
My Lady Nevel’s Grownde
Pavana (The first one Philips wrote)
Prelude and Fantasia
A Note about the Music
In the religious and social turmoil which surrounded English people 400 years ago, it is quite surprising that any good music was produced at all. In fact, after the troubled accession of Elizabeth I, there was a remarkable flowering of talent in all the arts, and a number of great geniuses in the field of music were able to work and prosper.
But this is to simplify the picture. Elizabeth encouraged tolerance in religious matters, but life was far from easy for those who refused to accept the Church of England and its weekly ritual. In these services the Queen was explicitly acknowledged as head of the Church, and it was unsurprising that some traditional believers fought shy of openly following this practice. Others who were more overt in their behaviour found the situation so intolerable that they preferred to forsake their country of birth altogether.
This was the path taken by Peter Philips in 1597. He went into exile in the Spanish-ruled Netherlands, and never returned to England. However, he became a great musical success on the Continent, and while his persona remained non grata in his homeland, his compositions were played and welcomed there.
William Byrd, another catholic, managed to tread the tightrope of compromise. He had taught Philips before he left England, and his music was so esteemed in royal circles that he remained in favour – just – merely suffering occasional fines for non-attendance at church.
These two masters of their age show huge differences in style, some of which are in evidence in music composed by Philips before his exile. These became much greater, though, once Philips moved to a very different cultural environment. Just to give one example: Philips adopted a more “European” style, and set tunes by Italian masters like Orlando di Lassus (Margot Laborez) and Caccini (Amarylli), while Byrd tended to write variations to popular English tunes, often traditional ones (The Carmen’s Whistle).