Maynard: The XII Wonders of the World (1611); Character Songs

Maynard: The XII Wonders of the World (1611); Character Songs
The Consort of Musicke; Anthony Rooley
Catalogue No.

To mark the reissue of this important Consort of Musicke recording, Anthony Rooley writes: ‘Of all the English Lute-Song Books of the Elizabethan/Jacobean Era none has been more misunderstood, nor wilfully maligned as John Maynard’s unique creation. Highly individual, full of rare humour, amazing invention – and at times quite exquisite poignancy – it deserves better!

Here is music from the very heart of elite Jacobean society; this is functional music intended to entertain and delight Noble Society and Intelligentsia, and specifically at the end of the Feast of Christmas, at Twelfth Night partying. Painted ‘roundels’ were customarily placed at each guest’s seat at the banquet where one side was plain, turned upmost, with the underside painted in characterful style with one of the basic human characters (there were thought to be twelve basic personality types according to Renaissance psychology).

Here is functional social music of the most elevated order, filled with humour and social reference. Listening again to these delightful pieces, I am transported into the very heart, mind and philosophy of this wonderfully obscure era of English Culture – at times seeming almost like an anticipation of ‘Monty Python-esque’ black humour that lies at the very heart of “Englishness”.’

Original notes and well as texts of the songs are included with this release, the first release on CD.


The XII Wonders of the World

CAMPION: Jack and Joan
HUME: Tobacco, tobacco
RAVENSCROFT: Yonder comes a courteous knight
PARSONS: Joan quoth John
ANONYMOUS: A poor soul sat sighing; The dark is my delight; Oh let us howle; Come live with me and be my love; What is’t ye lack?

The Consort of Musicke
Anthony Rooley

Recording information

Recording Producer: Peter Wadland, Morten Winding
Balance Engineer: Martin Haskell
Recording Location: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, UK, January 1975


‘…the singing is most attractive, the accompaniments rhythmically supportive, the recording clear and efficient’ Gramophone