Choice Ayres, Songs and Dialogues, Books 3, 4 & 5 (1681–84)
Facsimile: Printed Scores, John Playford
Introduction by Ian Spink
John Playford’s Choice Ayres – to adopt a short title that embraces the variant titles of the series – comprises five books of songs published between 1673 and 1684. It contains the earliest songs of Henry Purcell and offers a wide selection by his contemporaries – John Banister, John Blow, Thomas Farmer, James Hart, Pelham Humfrey, Robert Smith and William Turner. Moreover, it is the richest source of dramatic songs for the period, with songs for ten of John Dryden’s plays and almost fifty by other Restoration dramatists – Aphra Behn, John Crowne, Sir George Etherege, Nathaniel Lee, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, Nahum Tate and William Wycherley, as well as the Davenant-Dryden-Shadwell version of The Tempest.