John Dowland

(1563—1626) lutenist and composer

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(b London, ?1563; d London, 1626).

Eng. composer, singer, and lutenist. Mus.B. Oxon 1588. From 1580 to 1584 was in service of Brit. Ambassador to Paris where he became RC. Lutenist at courts at Brunswick, Hesse, Venice, Florence, and Nuremberg, 1595. Lutenist to King of Denmark 1598–1606. Returned to London 1606; lutenist to Lord Howard de Walden 1606–12; musician to James I 1612. Though noted in his day as a virtuoso lutenist and singer, he is now recognized as a great composer, whose songs melodically and harmonically advanced the ‘art song’. His printed songs numbered 87 of which 84 appeared in 4 vols.: 3 Books of Songs or Ayres, 1597, 1600, 1603, and A Pilgrims Solace, 1612), and 3 in his son Robert's Musical Banquet, 1614. Among his finest songs are Awake, Sweet Love; Come again Sweet Love; Fine Knacks for Ladies; Flow my Tears; Flow not so fast, ye Fountains; In Darkness let me Dwell; Sweet, stay awhile; Weep ye no more, sad Fountains; Welcome black night. Among his other comps. are the Lachrimae of 1604, which contains 21 instr. items incl. the celebrated Semper Dowland semper dolens, and many pieces for solo lute, incl. Walsingham, Loth to Depart, My Lady Hunsdons Puffe, Queen Elizabeths Galliard, and Dowlands Adew.

Subjects: Music.

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