Annual Summer Solstice Concert
The Hammond-Harwood House Museum Gardens
Anglica Antiqua brings to life music of 17th century England through dramatized sung recitation of poetry.
In this program we explore songs, dialogues, and ensemble pieces by Henry Lawes and John Wilson, the two most important English song composers of the mid-17th century. These men lived and worked during a transitional time, when the lute-song tradition epitomized by John Dowland had long since fallen out of fashion, but the Baroque masterpieces of Henry Purcell still lay some time in the future. Lawes, Wilson, and their contemporaries knew and worked with some of the greatest poets of their day -- which is to say, some of the greatest poets in the history of the English language -- so it is no surprise that they cultivated the "declamatory song," a uniquely English genre that aimed for the clearest, most expressive treatment of the text, but in a manner quite distinct from the more well-known Italian style of the period. Lawes, in particular, was widely praised for his "tunefull and well-measur'd song," as his friend the poet John Milton put it, while Wilson enjoyed a reputation as a brilliant lutenist, singer, and tunesmith. Join us as we celebrate this rich and unjustly neglected repertoire!