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English Lute Songs. Book 1


Compiled by Michael Pilkington
Voice & Piano (No lute tablature)

The two books contain some 100 songs chosen from the definitive collections of The English Lutenists begun by Edmund Fellowes, revised by Thurston Dart and added to by later scholars. They include many favourites and many lesser-known songs by popular composers such as Dowland, Campion and Pilkington (no known ancestor of the compiler) as well as some unjustly forgotten such as Corkine, Attey and Ferrabosco. Nearly all are for middle-range voice, with lute parts transcribed in staff notation. The books have an appropriate preface and a commentary on the words, which often throw a penetrating light on Elizabethan and Jacobean life.

Ref: B616 ISMN: 9790220206177 Categories: , ,


This anthology of English Lute Songs is based on the 558 songs published by Stainer & Bell since 1920 in their series The English School of Lutenist Song Writers, later to become The English Lute Song. Tablature has been omitted to save space: a good lutenist should be able to play from staff notation, and a keyboard player cannot use tablature. The majority of these songs were intended for use in the home, to be performed by whatever vices or instruments were available. This suggests  that it is false piety to insist that they should be performed with lute today. If only instrument available is a piano, a guitar, or electronic organ, the songs can still give pleasure, and this was why they wee written. In many of the songs, a cellist can play the bass line originally intended for viol.

Many of the poems were first re-published in the nineteenth century and immediately proved popular, long before the music was made available. They became even more popular when their original melodies were harmonised for piano by arrangers such as Frederick Keel in his two books of Elizabethan Love Songs. When the original accompaniments were restored by E. H. Fellowes and his successors it became clear that in a period of some twenty years after 1598, a group of English Poets and musicians had produced a body of high class work that, in John Dowland, England had a song-writer worthy of the company of Duparc and Hugo Wolf in the nineteenth century.



As at noon Dulcina rested
Sweet, stay awhile!

On a time the amorous Silvy

A pretty duck there was
O Lord, thy faithfulness
What thing is love?
When from my love

A secret love or two
Author of light
Beauty, since you so much desire
Come you pretty false-eyed wanton
Follow thy fair sun
Follow your saint
I must complain
If love loves truth
If thou long’st so much
It fell on a summer’s day
Love me or not
My sweetest Lesbia
Never love unless you can
O what unhoped for sweet supply!
Oft have I sigh’d
The cypress curtain of the night
The peaceful western wind
There is a garden in her face
Vain men, whose follies
Veil, love, mine eyes
When to her lute Corinna sings
Your fair looks

Love is not blind
Stay, Glycia, stay!
The heart to rue
Wanton, come hither!

He that hath no mistress
Sweet Cupid
Sweet, let me go!

Dost thou withdraw thy grace?
I die whenas I do not see
Like as the lute delights
Why canst thou not?

Drown not with tears
Fain I would
Like hermit poor
Unconstant love
Young and simple though I am

Fair sweet cruel
Not full twelve years
Now I see thy looks were feigned
Since first I saw your face
Unto the temple of thy beauty

Ye bubbling springs

Dear do not your fair beauty wrong

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