English Baroque Songs - III
Ten English songs for High voice
Editor: Edited by Timothy Roberts
High voice (c'#-a'') voice and continuo
English Baroque Songs Book III consists almost entirely of love songs, and Cupid himself makes an appearance in several of them, under the guise of 'Love' (Greek Eros, Latin Amor). Indeed the editor of Baroque songs is often faced with a dilemma: in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries most English nouns were capitalised, as in German today should 'Love' then have a capital L or not? In songs 1 and 3 it is clear that Cupid himself is referred to, while in No.5 he makes a pretty explicit appearance, since the lover hopes that the god will 'wound' his beloved (i.e. shoot her with his love-creating arrow). Less clear is the last section of No. 6, though here it is really an academic point whether the singer is enslaved to love in the abstract or to Cupid himself: no-one in Christian Europe believed that the Greek gods actually existed, and their exploits were generally understood as allegorical. It was considered normal for men to be 'wounded' by Cupid\'s dart: in our own age an object of Freudian symbolism, especially as the dart could 'cure' as well as bring affliction (song No. 3). The idea that from time to time Cupid might also shoot his arrow at a woman was generally male wishful thinking (Nos. 1 and 5), and if he did so the woman was landed with emotions that society would not consider it permissible for her to express (No. 10). Only occasionally do we find a song that expresses equal desire on each side, and then the composer is given licence for a rare emotional directness (No. 7). But sometimes understanding between the sexes can be hidden beneath the conventional surface of the indifferent woman: the singer of No. 8 is given plenty of opportunity (for example the little silence at bar 7) to show that Celia is actually getting her satisfaction too, if at young Philoret\'s expense.