John Coprario is not yet a household name (unless the house be one with devoted viol consort aficionados!) but his name should resound in any dwelling where people with a love of English music dwell – for he is firmly of the line of inspiration that leads directly to Henry Purcell two generations later (Coprario – William Lawes – Matthew Locke –young Henry). Viol players have for decades delighted in his pungent writing for consorts, but his music for violins invigorated the Jacobean scene, and certainly inspired his young eccentric genius, William Lawes, directly.
Songs of Mourning, the cycle written at the death of James I’s eldest son, Henry Prince of Wales, has a wonderfully distinctive vocal style, matching the music to the words with a closeness that is made possible largely by the special qualities of the poetry. Campian, the only poet of the lutenist generation to have made any deep impression on literary scholars and anthologists, wrote the poems for Coprario’s cycle.
FIRST INTERNATIONAL RELEASE ON CD
Songs of Mourning
Martyn Hill, tenor
Anthony Rooley, lute
Trevor Jones, bass viol
The Consort of Musicke
Anthony Rooley, director
Recording Producer: Peter Wadland
Balance Engineer: Iain Churches
Recording Location: Decca Studio 3, West Hampstead, London, UK, April 1977
‘Martyn Hill with this recording firmly establishes himself in the Pantheon of excellent singers for the lute-song repertory. Everything is superbly controlled, the words are understood as an integral part of the musical context, and the tone-colours are subtly modulated though without excess. … The recorded sound is excellent’ Gramophone