Henry Lawes: Songs of an English Cavalier

Henry Lawes: Songs of an English Cavalier

Saturday 28 March at 8 pm Pre-concert talk at 7:10 pm

Jeffrey Thompson, tenor La Rêveuse (France)
Florence Bolton treble and viola da gamba, Bertrand Cuiller harpsichord, Benjamin Perrot theorbo

Henry Lawes (1595-1662) was one of England’s principal composers in the mid-17th century. He appears on the musical stage in 1626, on his appointment to the Chapel Royal. This was the King’s personal choir, which sang at all the great occasions of state, and which, since Tudor times, had contained all the major English composers of the day. Unlike his predecessor James I, Charles I was interested in music, especially the music of pleasure, and to this Lawes’ talents were devoted almost exclusively.

Lawes’ appointment made him a Cavalier, as those of the Royalist party were called when the Puritans challenged, and eventually displaced, the power of the Crown (1642-49). Church music was proscribed, church organs were destroyed, and the Chapel Royal was disbanded. Unemployed, Lawes turned to publication for his support. He published the first edition of Ayres and Dialogues for One, Two and Three Voyces in 1653, from which the evening’s program draws its music. He also was among the five composers of the first English opera, The Siege of Rhodes, written in 1656.

Tenor Jeffrey Thompson made his professional debut in Boston in 2002 with the Handel and Haydn Society as Lurcanio in Handel’s Ariodante under Christopher Hogwood. Focussed on repertoire from the Baroque, he has become a sought-after international performer. He has sung operatic roles in Europe, Japan and America, French cantatas in eastern Europe, and recitals of English Music of the 17th and 18th century for the Festival of Baroque Music, Printemps des Arts, in Nantes, France.

Founded by Benjamin Perrot and Florence Bolton, La Rêveuse is an ensemble of solo musicians which aims to bring back to life selected works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, an effervescent age rich in artistic experiments and inventions of all kinds. By favouring an approach founded on eloquence, mastery of colour, and a rich continuo sound the musicians of La Rêveuse convey to audiences the rhetorical, spiritual and poetic substance of the period.

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La Rêveuse appears with the support of the Institut français, the Conseil régional du Centre and the Spedidam

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