THE STATION OCTET
The Leaves be
Greene Byrd (1543-1623), ed. Sir R. R. Terry
BYRD'S piece is amongst the oldest of all instrumental music. Four hundred years ago, almost the only cultivated music was for voices. By the end of the sixteenth century Composers had begun to write for instruments. Naturally, the style was at first a good deal like that of the vocal music, for the special capabilities of instruments had all to be discovered.
But English composers (who were pioneers in the field) almost at once began to find out how tc write effectively for the Keyboard instrument of the day, the Virginals, and for the family of Stringed instruments, the Viols (roughly corresponding to our Violins, Violas, and 'Cellos).
The Leaves be Greene, which has the additional title, ' Browning,' is a set of instrumental variations on a short theme. The music originally had words to it, but in some manuscripts these are not given. They were just a rough, rhyme-, ' The leaves be green, the nuts be brown, they hang so high they will not come down.'
9.45 VIOLET DE VILLAMIL (Mezzo-Soprano)
Have you seen but a white lily grow ? (Time,
Phillis on the new-made hay (Time, Charles I) Recit., Thy Hand, Belinda,' and Air, 'When I am laid in earth,' Purcell from ' Dido and Æneas ' .... (1658-1695)
Nymphs and Shepherds ..... 10.0 OCTET Six English Tunes from the 16th and 17th Centuries (from an MS. in the British Museum, ed. by Peter Warlock)
WHEN Handel wanted to make a choral work out of Milton's two great poems in praise of Jollity and Meditation, L'Allegro and II Pensieroso, he seems to have applied for help to a would-be literary man, one Jennens. This Jennens was responsible for the libretto of Messiah, and that must be regarded as his recommendation to mercy. Otherwise, one might be tempted to use harsh words about him, for lie cut L'Allegro and 11 Pensieroso ruthlessly, and, instead of using them as two whole poems, he took bits of one and sandwiched them with bits of the other. He even managed to get in a bit of his own versification, winding up the work with 11 Moderato in praise of moderation ! Still, even when Jennens had done his worst, there was enough left of Milton's inspired verse to incite Handel to write some fine music.
Sir R. R.