Robert King (1676-1728)

Robert King was appointed to Charles II’s Private Music in 1680, and prior to that some songs of his had appeared in print in Tripla Concordia in 1677 but little is known of his life before then. He was a violinist, a recorder player and harpsichordist, and a prolific composer. He continued in the Private Music until 1726, and may have died shortly after that. He wrote music for a number of plays, some devotional and celebratory works, and numerous songs, as well as keyboard and other instrumental music.

It is likely that one of his patrons was Lord Burghley, 5th Earl of Exeter, as he composed a birthday ode for him in 1693, and prior to that, in 1686, had arranged a dinner party for the Earl and his Lady in the music room at York Buildings. He also enjoyed the patronage of William and Mary, being granted a license in 1698 to promote public concerts, which continued at least until 1702.

Kng 1

A Pastorall Elegy

on the Blessed Memory of her late Gracious Majesty Queen Mary

Edited by Timothy Roberts

for soprano, alto,tenor, bass and bc

Price: £ 9.50

On Mary’s death King composed this Elegy for four voices which appeared in published form in a volume with the title “A Second Booke of Songs together/ with A Pastorall Elegy, on the Blessed/ Memory of her late Gracious MAJESTY/ QUEEN MARY, for One Two Three & Four/ Voices, Composed by R King BM;/ Servant to his MAJESTY”. It is presumed that this was published shortly after the Queen’s death, possibly in 1695, (but curiously, the date on the copy in the British Library is 1727).

This volume is dedicated to Lord Burleigh. The present work is an attractive setting of a not very sophisticated conventional pastoral text, with a pleasing alternation of solos with duets and a trio, and concluding with a chorus for four voices.

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