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date: 20 February 2020

Dowland, Johnlocked

  • Peter Holman
  •  and Paul O’Dette

Extract

(b ?London, 1563; bur. London, Feb 20, 1626). English composer and lutenist. He was one of the finest players of his time, and while his music was soon superseded in England, it had a profound influence on the Continent, where he spent much of his career. He is now recognized as the greatest English composer of lute music and lute songs.

Dowland wrote in A Pilgrimes Solace (London, 1612) that ‘I am now entered into the fiftieth yeare of mine age’; nothing has been found to substantiate Thomas Fuller’s claim that he was born in Westminster, or W.H. Grattan Flood’s claim that he came from Dalkey near Dublin. However, he wrote in The First Booke of Songs or Ayres (London, 1597) that he had studied music from childhood, and this was presumably in an aristocratic household; he was certainly in Sir Henry Cobham’s service for all or some of Cobham’s period as English resident in Paris from ...

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