Dowland, John

John DowlandJohn Dowland (1563 – buried 20 February 1626) was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as “Come, heavy sleep” (the basis for Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal), “Come again”, “Flow my tears”, “I saw my Lady weepe” and “In darkness let me dwell”, but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and has been a source of repertoire for lutenists and classical guitarists during the twentieth century.

In 1597, Dowland published his First Book of Songs in London. It was one of the most influential and important musical publications of the history of the lute. This collection of lute-songs was set out in a way that allows performance by a soloist with lute accompaniment or various combinations of singers and instrumentalists.

Dowland published two books of songs after the First Book of Songs, in 1600 and 1603, as well as the Lachrymae in 1604. He also published a translation of the Micrologus of Andreas Ornithoparcus in 1609, originally printed in Leipzig 1517, a rather stiff and medieval treatise, but nonetheless occasionally entertaining.

Dowland’s last, and in the opinion of most scholars, best work, A Pilgrimes Solace, was published in 1612, and seems to have been conceived more as a collection of contrapuntal music than as solo works.

 

John Dowland – Wikipedia