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HOLBORNE / ROBINSON: Pavans and Galliards (Christopher Wilson/ Shirley Rumsey) (Naxos: 8.553874)

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Antony Holborne (fl. ?1584 - 1602)

Thomas Robinson (fl. 1584 - 1602)

Pavans and Galliards for one and two lutes


Holborne and Robinson were two lutenist-composers workingduring the closing years of Elizabethan England and writing in the tuneful,approachable style of John Dowland. 56 lute pieces by Holborne have survived(exceeded in England only by Dowland with about a hundred), and 39 by Robinson.

Neither were lutenists to royalty, to which all musicians aspired because of theimplied security of employment for life, but both found other ways to benefitfrom the honey-pot of royal patronage.


Antony Holborne was described as "Gentleman Usher toElizabeth, late Queene of England". He would have been responsible forcontrolling access to the Queen's Presence or Privy Chamber, so would have beenacquainted with all royal musicians and courtiers. Dowland thought sufficientlyhighly of him to dedicate one song in 1600 to "the most famous, Anthony Holborne",and Thomas Morley was flattered to receive for his Plaine and EasieIntroduction to Practicall Musicke, printed 1597, a dedicatory poem byHolborne. Holborne also wrote a Latin dedicatory poem for Farnaby's Canzonets

of 1598, and frequently gave his pieces epigrammatic or Latin titles in themanner of imprese or mottoes. He used his own personal impresa ni merearmoriar (if I were not worthy I should die) in both his publications - TheCittharn Schoole of 1597, and Pavans, Galliards... in Five Parts,1599. As well as employment at court, we also have records of his being paid anumber of times for delivering privy council letters to the government ambassadorin the Netherlands. It was as a result of one of these assignments that hiswife reported to Cecil that he "tooke such a coulde, that I feare wilbehis lyves losse". He died the next day, in November 1602. His lute soloswere mostly written in the dance forms of elaborate divisions.


Thomas Robinson seems to have concentrated on teaching,rather than performing on plucked string instruments. Like Holborne, as well asthe lute he played its wire-strung siblings, the bandora and cittern. His twosurviving publications are both do-it-yourself tutors, one principally for thelute and the other for the cittern. He taught the future Queen Anne to play thelute in Denmark before she married King James, to whom he dedicated his lutetutor in 1603. The first piece in the book is a duet for teacher and pupil, anencouraging method still used for many instruments today, but this particularduet, The Queen's Good Night, requires considerable rhythmic control inthe last division, as you will hear, when the pupil's treble has to maintain9/8 against the teacher's accompaniment of even quavers in 3/4. Robinson wrotetwo types of duet' treble and ground (as in Twenty Ways upon the Bells)in which each player maintains either the tune or the accompaniment; and 'equal' duets, where the players exchange function at the end of every strain. Themusic of this second type is printed with the parts facing each other, as dothe players. We can see in our mind's eye the original scene with the coupleconversing musically with no need of an audience, which was neither expectednor required. Robinson developed an individual style of writing, in which hewas one of the first to exploit the lute's idiomatic style brise, inwhich the lutenist arpeggiates chords, as you can hear in the Galliard.

Divisions on popular tunes were also favoured by Robinson, here represented by GoFrom My Window, one of the many simple but catchy late Elizabethan anonymoustunes for which the original ballad text is now lost.


Item number 8553874
Barcode 730099487429
Release date 01/01/2000
Category Instrumental | Classical Music
Label Naxos Classics | Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Rumsey, Shirley
Wilson, Christopher
Composers Holborne, Antony
Thomas Robinson
Disc: 1
Heres Paternus
1 Heres Paternus
Muy Linda
2 Muy Linda
Fantasia No. 3
3 Fantasia No. 3
Galliard No. 17
4 Galliard No. 17
Cradle Pavan
5 Cradle Pavan
Countess of Ormond's Galliard
6 Countess of Ormond's Galliard
7 Wanton
Pavan No. 2
8 Pavan No. 2
Galliard No. 2
9 Galliard No. 2
A Toy for two lutes
10 A toy for two lutes
A Plaine song for two lutes
11 A Plaine song for two lutes
Passamezzo Galliard
12 Passamezzo Galliard
A Toy
13 A Toy
A Galliard
14 A Galliard
Bonny sweet boy
15 Bonny sweet boy
Go from my window
16 Go from my window
A Gigue
17 A Gigue
Twenty ways upon the bells
18 Twenty ways upon the bells
A Fantasy for two lutes
19 A Fantasy for two lutes
The Queen's Goodnight
20 The Queen's Goodnight
Pavan No. 11
21 Pavan No. 11
The Fairy Round
22 The Fairy Round
The Night Watch
23 The Night Watch
Last Will and Testament
24 Last Will and Testament
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