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NEW EXAMINATION SHOWS THAT JOHN DOWLAND HAS COMPOSED MUCH MORE LUIT MUSIC THAN KNOWN
The pieces, recorded here, form merely the tip of a fascinating iceberg. When medievist/archivist André Nieuwlaat initially shared his discoveries (much more Dowland lute music) with lutenist Mike Fentross two years ago, he realised immediately the importance.
Every composer has his own musical signature. Trusting the experience that Mike Fentross has gained throughout his thirty-year career as a professional lute player, and as Professor of Lute at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague for the last 15 years, he started to make a selection from all the pieces in the pertinent manuscripts. He let himself be guided by musical intuition, by the essence of the pieces, and by constantly asking myself the question: do I recognise Dowland's hand in this? The overall quality of the pieces to choose from was very impressive, and the answer to this question was: ‘ Yes, I recognise Dowland in these works, without a shadow of a doubt’.
1 - Prelude (Mertel 1615 Preludium 230)
For this piece, please refer to my general remarks on Mertel's 'Hortus Musicalis Novus' under track 13.
2 - Fantasia (Mertel 1615 Phantasia 67)
This fantasia is very closely related to a piece in the Barbarino lute book: 'Recercata d'incerto' (Krakow 40032, pp. 268-269), and seems to be an extended reworking of that. It shares its initial theme with a much shorter and simpler ricercar that is found in several slightly older sources of Florentine origin, among them the Bottegari and Cavalcanti lute books. John Robinson published an article on these settings in LSA Quarterly 39 No. 3 (2004), pp. 42-45.
There are several interesting aspects to this piece that deserve to be investigated further. Some time ago, I was able to establish that, in 1620, Philipp Hainhofer was the owner of the Barbarino lute book. I also discovered that there appear to have been business relationships going back as far as the 1560's between the Hainhofer family firm (who were originally merchants in fine textiles) and the Florentine banker's family Cavalcanti. As a young man, Philipp Hainhofer was sent to Northern Italy to study – and his stay there coincides exactly with the time that Dowland was there. And it is also a fact that Hainhofer and Dowland shared several mutual acquaintances, among them Johannes Cellarius, in whose Stammbuch (Liber amicorum) Dowland wrote the entry that can be seen on the cover of Diana Poulton's biography. I believe there is every reason to assume that Dowland and Hainhofer must have known each other personally. There are also several remarkable aspects to the Hainhofer lute books which very much seem to support this.
As can be seen from the bibliography in Joachim Lüdtke's thesis on the Hainhofer lute books, Philipp Hainhofer's life - including his stay in Italy - is extremely well documented. I am very hopeful that additional research in the Hainhofer archive (now for the most part in Wolfenbüttel) will provide more details about his stay there, including the people that he met while he was there.
3 - In te Domine speravi (PL-Wrk 352 fol. 30r)
As Wolfgang Wiehe has pointed out in his article on this setting of Josquin's frottola (LSA Quarterly, September 2007), its style is very reminiscent of the 'broken style' that is found in some of the lute works, attributed to Marco dall'Aquila in the Herwarth manuscript BSB Mus.Ms. 266. For this reason, it was also included in the Lute Society edition of the works of Marco dall'Aquila (no.38), as an 'unattributed work likely to be by Marco dall'Aquila'.
I have no doubt that PL-Wrk 352 was indeed originally compiled in the 1540's, but I am also convinced that a certain section of the manuscript (fol. 26v-37r) was added at a much later date. In this respect, PL-Wrk 352 is very similar to the manuscript Paris Rés. 429. It is relatively easy to establish exact scribal concordances for the section 26v-37r with sources that can be dated at around 1600. And these sources happen to be sources that can be linked directly to John Dowland.
4 - La Batalla (Barbarino p. 368 / Thistlethwaite fol. 60r)
There are three Bataglia settings that are very closely connected. They are found in the Dallis, Thistlethwaite and Barbarino (Krakow 40032) lute books. Between them, they represent three very different stages of what is essentially the same piece. The version in the Dallis lute book (starting on p. 60) is the oldest one, and was probably written in the 1580's. This version then underwent a drastic reworking, involving leaving out material (such as the beginning) and adding new material. However, the material that the Dallis and Thistlethwaite lute books do have in common is found in both sources in exactly the same order. The version in Thistlethwaite (written for a 6-course lute, with the 6th course tuned down to F) is unfinished: it ends quite abruptly.
The version in the Barbarino lute book (for 7-course lute) is a revised version of the setting in Thistlethwaite. Again, some new material is added, other material is left out, and parts are revised, but in this case the reworking is not nearly as radical as the earlier reworking from Dallis into Thistlethwaite. And again, the material that the Thistlethwaite and Barbarino versions have in common is found in the same order – that is: until we get to the end of the Thistlethwaite version. In the Barbarino version, the final bars of the unfinished Thistlethwaite setting are rearranged in order to bring the piece to a close.
For the present recording, we have used the finished Barbarino setting. Apart from the necessary editing, we also decided to include a section from the Thistlethwaite version (found on fol. 60R) that was deleted during the reworking into the Barbarino setting.
5 - Fantasia (Mertel 1615 Phantasia 29)
For this piece, please refer to my general remarks on Mertel's 'Hortus Musicalis Novus' under track 13.
6 - Fantasia (Mertel 1615 Phantasia 41)
For this piece, please refer to my general remarks on Mertel's 'Hortus Musicalis Novus' under track 13.
7 - Prelude (Hirsch fol. 15r)
I believe that the evidence for the Hirsch lute book being a Dowland autograph is very solid. As far as I know, the prelude on fol. 15r is not found in any other source. For this reason, I believe that this piece can be safely attributed to John Dowland, even more so when you consider the extraordinary quality of the writing.
8 - Fantasia (Hirsch fol. 67v)
This fantasia contains a lengthy reference to Josquin's motet 'Benedicta es' / Gombert's chanson 'Triste Départ' (see notes on track 11), starting at bar 32. I am convinced, for many reasons, that the Hirsch lute book is a Dowland autograph. Until now, the fantasia on fol. 67v was believed to be a unicum, not found in any other lute source. It was only very recently however (during the writing of the notes for this CD in June 2018) that I finally managed to get hold of a facsimile of a manuscript that I had been after for a very long time: a manuscript that is kept at the Conservatoire de Montréal in Canada. From what little I knew about it (mostly from Victor Coelho's thesis on Italian lute manuscripts), especially from the concordances to it, I very much suspected that the Montreal manuscript might well be a Dowland autograph. And as soon as I opened the pdf file, there were no longer any doubts in my mind. But the biggest surprise came as I was going through the pages of the Montreal manuscript. On fol. 47v, I immediately recognized the score of one of the pieces that Mike had recorded only months before: the fantasia in Hirsch, fol. 67v. And it may very well be that the Montreal manuscript, which has hardly been studied so far, will turn out to contain more wonderful surprises such as this one.
9 - Fancy (Marsh p. 230)
This piece is found in two different versions in the Marsh lute book. The first one is found on p. 49, and it is an almost exact transcription of a keyboard setting, found in the Mulliner book. The second Marsh setting (the one that was recorded) follows the first setting quite closely for the first 36 bars, but then goes its own way. And in that new section, very clear references to Gombert's 'Triste Départ' (and indirectly, to Josquin's 'Benedicta es') can be heard.
A different fantasia, using the same initial theme, can be found in the manuscript known as Paris Rés. 429, on fol. 105v-106r. A somewhat shorter version of that fantasia is found in the Siena lute book, on fol. 29r. It is clear, after comparing scores, that the version found in Siena was based on that in Paris Rés. 429, and not the other way around.
Paris Rés. 429 is a complex source, and it is therefore little wonder that it has been badly misinterpreted in the past. The same is true of the Herwarth collection in the Bavarian State Library, to which it is closely connected in more ways than one. What has become clear to me recently, is that the identification by Arthur Ness (in his thesis on the Herwarth collection) of 'scribe A' in both the Herwarth collection and Paris Rés. 429, as being Melchior Newsidler, cannot possibly be correct. There are several concordances between the Paris manuscript and the Thistlethwaite lute book that Ness apparently wasn't aware of at the time when he was working on his thesis. Comparison of the scores of the relevant pieces quite clearly shows that the pieces in Paris Rés. 429, believed by Ness to have been written by Newsidler, were in fact written much later: probably as late as the 1590's. And it is also quite clear that Paris Rés. 429 is, partially at least, a Dowland autograph. I am sure that the German texts, written in the margins of some of the pieces (not only in the Paris manuscript, but also in for instance the Marco dall'Aquila fascicle in BSB 266) will turn out to have been added by Philipp Hainhofer. A more detailed knowledge of Hainhofer's activities and social network seems to be crucial to a correct understanding of many continental lute sources. But in order to achieve that, much additional research in the archives of Munich and Wolfenbüttel is needed. That, as well as a thorough reappraisal of the items that make up the Herwarth collection.
10 - Preludium (Cosens fol. 27r)
The Cosens lute book is a curious source in more ways than one. Many of the pieces in it are known from other sources, but the versions in the Cosens lute book are often radically different from those found elsewhere. Some pieces in it are marked at the end with the letters C.K. It has been suggested that those letters are the initials of the owner of the Cosens lute book; an amateur lutenist who, judging from the quality of the pieces in it, must have been an excellent player, and who wrote his own versions of already existing pieces for his personal use. Diana Poulton decided not to include these versions in her Dowland edition for precisely this reason: in her view, the versions found in Cosens departed too far from the norm.
I find this interpretation of the Cosens lute book very hard to accept. For a start, there is the level of skill that is needed in order to be able to play all the pieces in Cosens, which is extremely high. I think there can be no doubt that the Cosens lute book must have been compiled by a professional player. The book seems to be intended as something of a showpiece: a display, not only of the skill of its owner as a lutenist, but as a scribe as well. As for the hypothesis that the pieces were written by a gifted amateur (C.K.) for his personal use, there are several facts which seem to contradict this. Most importantly, two of the pieces marked 'C.K.' are found in continental printed sources: one in Mertel's printed collection of 1615, and another one in Mylius' collection, which was published in 1622. It seems highly unlikely to me that Elias Mertel and Johann Daniel Mylius would both have been able, independently, and seven years apart, to somehow get their hands on a piece of music that was to be found only in the private lute book of an English amateur lute player. The alternative seems much more likely: that the Mertel and Mylius collections (and the Fuhrmann collection as well) all made use of the same corpus of source material, and that the pieces marked C.K. (though not marked as such in the prints, of course) were part of that corpus.
11 - Fantasia (Ness 82) (Dd.2.11 fol. 16r)
The opening bars of this piece, found on the same page in the Holmes lute book Dd.2.11 as Ness 83 (and like 83, also attributed in that source to Francesco da Milano) are very similar to the opening bars of an anonymous fantasia in the Hirsch lute book, found on fol. 65r (note that the model for Ness 83 is found in Hirsch on the following page, 65v!). The final section of 82 goes back to a setting of Philippe Verdelot's chanson Dormend'un giorno, found in the Thistlethwaite lute book, fol. 71r. This setting was then reworked on the pages immediately following it (starting on 73r). The new version in Thistlethwaite (which is also found in Dd.2.11, on fol. 25V, only pages away from the page containing Ness 82 and 83) follows the first version very closely, but only up to a certain point. About halfway through, new material is introduced that is unrelated to Verdelot's chanson (quite possibly another, as yet unidentified vocal model was used). And it is this second half of this 'composite', second Thistlethwaite setting, that was used for the final section of Ness 82. Immediately following this, a few bars are added near the end of 82: bars 28 ff. in the Ness edition. Those bars are a reference to Dowland's 'Forlorne Hope Fancy' (the lower voice in bars 9-10 in Poulton's edition, and a part of the virtuoso section starting at bar 29). The extra bars in Ness 82 can be found in identical form in other pieces as well: for instance in the final bars of the 2nd variation of Dowland's 'Go From My Window' (Poulton 64, bars 22-23). Remarkably, it is also found in a recercar, attributed to Marco dall'Aquila in the manuscript BSB Mus.Ms. 266, fol. 28v (Lute Society edition, No. 13, bars 18 ff.); a piece which, as Arthur Ness found out, is related to Josquin's motet 'Benedicta es'. References to this motet, and to Gombert's very closely related chanson 'Triste Départ' (the final section of which is directly based on the motif from Josquin's motet) can be found throughout sources, associated with John Dowland.
12 - Fantasia (Hirsch fol. 65v)
This anonymous fantasia is the source for what was to become a fantasia, attributed to Francesco da Milano in the Holmes lute book Dd.2.11: Ness 83. It is in fact the piece that was at the basis of my research in 2015. I wanted to compare the scores of Ness 83 (a minor) and the pieces related to it (g minor), found in various sources, among them Elias Mertel's printed collection 'Hortus Musicalis Novus', published in 1615. I contacted Göran Crona, who published a modern edition of the Mertel collection some years ago, and asked him if he could send me a facsimile. In his reaction, Göran casually asked me whether I had ever noticed the reference in the fantasia to Lasso's chanson 'Susanne un jour'. I had not, but Göran was right: the quotation is unmistakable - and Lasso's chanson wasn't published until several decades after Francesco's death, effectively ruling out Francesco as the composer of Ness 83. The 'Susanne un jour' quotation is also present in the a minor version (Ness 83), but in that version, four extra bars are inserted into the Susanne section. This insertion (bars 29-32 in the Ness edition) corresponds exactly with two bars near the end of Dowland's 'Farewell Fancy' (bars 49-50 in Poulton's edition) - in much the same way that Ness 82 ends with a reference to the 'Forlorne Hope Fancy'.
13 - Fantasia (Mertel 1615 Phantasia 19)
This fantasia shares its initial theme with the fantasia that is found in the Hirsch (fol. 67v) and Montreal (fol. 47v) lute books, but then heads off in a completely different direction. There are several very strong indications to suggest that the source material, used for the compilation of Mertel's 'Hortus Musicalis Novus', was not collected from many different sources over a long period of time. One indication is the complete lack of any concordances for most of the pieces in Mertel. And another indication is the fact that the pieces in Mertel for which concordances can be found, are almost invariably linked to sources that are closely associated with John Dowland. An even more telling indication is the fact that the overall quality of the pieces in the Mertel collection is exceptionally high, and stylistically quite uniform and constant as well (although there are quite a lot of pieces that give the impression of being unfinished). I believe that the Fuhrmann, Mertel and Mylius printed collections are all based on a single corpus of source material, and that what binds those printed collections together is John Dowland. I have found many other indications to support this hypothesis, but it would go too far to present all of them here. I have described only one of them in the notes to the Prelude from the Cosens lute book (track 10).
I am well aware that indications, however strong they may be, don't constitute any real evidence. But I believe that it may be possible to develop a method to test the hypothesis. This method would have to be based on the fundamental difference between scribal errors (found in the source material that is used for the printed editions) and printing errors (not found in the source material). I am at the moment working on what steps should be included in developing such a method.
14 - Susanne un jour (Wickhambrook fol. 13v)
I have found several very strong indications to suggest that the Wickhambrook lute book is a Dowland autograph. There are for instance many clear scribal concordances with other lute sources that can be associated with him. But there is something else. One of the most curious things about the Wickhambrook manuscript is the fact, that one of the pieces in it is given a wrong title: the lute setting of the chanson 'Pour vous aimer' (by Philip van Wilder) is listed as 'Si vous voulez' (a chanson by Arcadelt). Some errors (like a letter written on the wrong line in tablature) are simply errors and nothing more than that, they don't require any further explanation. But an error such as this one does seem to require an explanation: what caused it? And it turns out that a plausible explanation can be found, in the Paston part-book 22597 (a tenor part-book; the other part-books of this series have not survived). Edward Paston's secretary made a lute setting of 'Pour vous aimer' (minus one part) from that set of part-books, which he wrote down in the Paston lute book 29247, fol. 36v. It appears likely that he also made a copy for himself, working from the same set of part-books. But in doing so, he seems to have made a mistake. In 22597, 'Pour vous aimer' is found on fol. 44v. I think that, when he added the title to the piece in the copy he was making, he accidentally copied the title of the piece immediately following 'Pour vous aimer' in 22597, being: 'Si vous voulez' on fol 45v. Such a mistake would have been easy enough to make, as all pieces in the Paston part-books are untexted. This incorrectly titled, exact transcription (which is probably based on the version in Le Roy and Ballard's 'Mellange de chansons', published in 1572) seems to have been the basis for the highly ornamented version that we find in the Wickhambrook lute book on fol. 13r.
The piece also found its way into the Holmes lute book Dd.2.11, on fol. 24v-25r, including the incorrect title. Similarly, the setting of 'Susanne un jour' in Wickhambrook (fol. 13v-14r) is also found in the Holmes lute book, on the pages immediately before it: 23v-24r. There can be little doubt therefore, that the scribe of Wickhambrook and the secretary of Edward Paston were one and the same person: John Dowland. This is confirmed by additional research, especially into several concordances to the Hirsch lute book.
15 - Preludium (Cosens fol. 24v)
For this piece, please refer to my general remarks on the Cosens lute book under track 10. In this piece too, some very clear references to Josquin's 'Benedicta es' / Gombert's 'Triste Départ' can be heard.
16 - My Mrs Farewell (Board fol. 16r)
The Board lute book was originally compiled around 1600 by John Dowland for teaching purposes. As Julia Craig McFeely noticed earlier in her thesis, the handwriting on the first 30 folios is remarkably similar to the handwriting found in the Hirsch lute book, and what is more: both are even written on the same paper (made by Nicolas le Bé, late 16th century). There are many more reasons to doubt Robert Spencer's original claim that the Board book was written by Margaret Board, and to assume instead that it was John Dowland who was the original scribe. When Dowland gave up teaching, probably in the early 1620's, the manuscript became the property of Margaret Board, and another teacher started using it, and adding pieces to it: most probably John Sturt. My research shows that, in the last year of his life, Dowland made arrangements of a number of pieces in the Board lute book (and of other pieces as well), almost certainly at the request of Margaret Board (then Bourne; she had married in May 1625 – the married name 'Bourne' is named in the manuscript), to suit the instrument that she played: a 10-course lute. Part of this reworking of pieces from Board and other sources can be seen taking place in a manuscript that is now in Krakow (40641). The revised or 'modernized' versions were eventually written down in what must have been the last lute book that John Dowland ever compiled: the ML lute book.
At an earlier stage, when the Board lute book was still in his possession, Dowland had used it as one of the sources for the compilation of a lute book that had been commissioned from him: the Welde lute book.
'My Mrs. Farewell' is an anonymous piece. The title doesn't seem to make much sense if this section of the Board lute book was written, as Spencer believes, by Margaret Board. But it does make a lot of sense, once you assume that it is John Dowland's handwriting that we are looking at. The piece was probably written on one of the occasions when Dowland left England for the Continent.
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