John Dowland

These eight songs with lute were published for Dowland in 1600 by George Eastland as part of the second book of songs, with the title page THE/ SECOND BOOKE/ of Songs or Ayres,/ of 2. 4. and 5. parts:/ With Tableture for the Luteor/ Orpherian, with the Violl/ de Gamba.. Composed by JOHN DOWLAND Batcheler/ of Musick, and Lutenist to the King of Den-/mark: Also an excellent lesson for the Lute/ and Base Viol, called/ Dowlands adew.

As noted by Peter Holman (1)there was a “complicated and protracted series of lawsuits relating to… [its publication] between the publisher George Eastland and [the printer] Thomas East.” (2)

Dow 1

Eight Songs for two voices

from The Second Booke of songs or Ayres

for soprano ((f'-e''), bass (D-d'), lute and viol

Price: £ 8.70

I saw my Lady weepe
Lacrimae. Flow my teares
Sorrow sorrow stay
Dye not before thy day
Mourne, mourne, day is with the darkness fled
Times eldest sonne, old age
Then sit thee downe
When others sing Venite

Whilst some of these songs will be familiar, from a number of editions, as solo songs, each of these eight songs has, as well as the Canto part a texted Basso part. The songs were thus clearly intended, when the opportunity presented itself, to be sung as duets for soprano and bass voices, with either the lute alone, or with lute and viol. The intention of the present edition is to offer the eight two-part songs in a form in which it is easy and practical to perform them either as solo songs, or as duets, accompanied by the lute, with or without a viol.

For those occasions when a lute is not available, a keyboard arrangement of the lute and bass parts is provided. It is not advocated to use this for performance, but it may prove a help for the singers in preparing the songs for performance.

For the soprano and the lutenist, two copies of the canto part with the lute tablature are provided. For a lutenist who wishes also to sing the basso, we give the tablature again with the basso part. A separate basso part for a viol is included.

Wherever possible, all the text is set under the voice parts; in practice this is feasible with up to four stanzas. Thus in song number 5, My thought this other night, the text for four of the verses is set out on the facing page. The sources of the texts are for the most part unknown, but it has been suggested that at least the first stanza of number 2, My love bound me with a kisse, is by Thomas Campion. The words of number 11, Over these brookes, are taken from Sidney’s Arcadia.

(1) Holman, Peter; Dowland: Lachrimae (1604), Cambridge, 1999
(2)Poulton, Diana; John Dowland, London (2/1982), pp246-7


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