Friday, April 18, 2014

Old Music Friday

I wish I could say that when I'm in the car I only ever listen to Sirius channel 76 - Symphony Hall - and never ever listened to Hits 1 with Nicole and the Morning Mashup (and I wish I could say that I didn't know that Nicole just had a baby, or that I was more familiar with the saga in the Ukraine than with Sypder Harrison's voice...).

But I digress...

Anyway, a few days ago I was sitting on the 210 freeway, and switched over to Symphony Hall where they were doing their regular Baroque show, and I was happy to hear music by two baroque English composers I hadn't known before.

Matthew Locke ( was born around 1621 and trained in the choir of Exeter Cathedral under the direction of Edward Gibbons (brother to Orlando, one of the Renaissance Grandaddies).  He was buddies with Orlando's son, Christopher, and partnered with him to write the score to Cupid and Death, a masque by James Shirley, and their score is the only surviving soundtrack for a dramatic work from that era.  In 1673 he published a treatise on music theory, Melothesia, and in the introduction he was credited as being the "Composer in Ordinary to His Majesty, and organist of her Majesty's chapel"  He was also Composer of Wind Music and Composer for Violins (he was succeeded in office by Purcell).


Christopher Simpson ( was born around 1602 in Yorkshire, and was the son of a Catholic theater manager.  He fought in the English Civil War on the Royalist side, and then became a music tutor.

He's most famous for his music for viols, having written several books on how to play, and all his surviving works are for the viol or a viol ensemble.  The viol or viola da gamba looked like a modern day cello, but had six strings rather than four, was tuned in fourths with a third in the middle like a lute, rather than in fifths, had frets, and several other differences)

Both of these composers are going into heavy rotation on Spotify for me.

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