August 2009 edition

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This month’s episode (13 minutes and 2 seconds) features music from lutenist and composer John Dowland. Dowland wrote the Lachrimae Pavane, known in English as “Flow My Tears,” in 1596, and it is now one of the most widely known pieces of the English Renaissance. Lachrimae became the composer’s signature song literally as well as metaphorically: later in life he would occasionally sign his name “Jo.

Dolandi de Lachrimae” or “John Dowland of the Lachrimae.”

This performance is notable in that it is played on a newly restored Italian Virginal built by the Florentine maker Francesco Poggi around 1590. Here’s Charles Metz, performing John Dowland’s Lachrimae Pavane.

Following that Lachrimae, we’ll hear music of one of Dowland’s contemporaries, William Byrd: a Pavan and Galliard played by Charles Metz on the virginal. This instrument is closely related to the harpsichord, but the strings run parallel to the keyboard instead of perpendicular to it. Because of this orientation, the virginal’s strings are plucked closer to the middle than the harpsichord, which gives the instrument a richer, fuller sound.