Almains by John and Robert Dowland

The Margaret Board lute book, written c.1620 and unknown until it was offered for sale in 1970, is a fascinating source, not least because it contains a substantial quantity of John Dowland’s handwriting.  He wrote a theoretical table showing the Gam ut on f.1v. and two pieces: an Almande by Robert Dowland on f.12.v. and a prelude on f. 83v.  It seems that Margaret had at least some lessons with John, and so her copies of his pieces (whose ascriptions nearly all give him his full title, “Master John Dowland, Bacheler of Musique”) are especially interesting: Solus cum sola, f.10; Lachrimae, f.11v.; Almain, f.13; Galliard (on a Galliard of Daniel Bacheler), f.16v.; The King of Denmark’s Galliard, f.17v.; If my complaints (Piper’s Galliard), f.21v.; The Queen’s Galliard, f. 24; Mr Dowland’s Midnight, f.26v.; Preludium, f.29; Coranto, f.30; and possibly the prelude on f.83v.

Margaret’s texts contain many signs for graces and suggest that it was common practice to add graces in this way – in contrast to many modern performances of this music which have tended to ignore the signs altogether.  In these recordings I have realized the graces according to the principles discussed in my article “The interpretation of signs for graces in English lute music” in The Lute XXXVI (1996), 37-84.

Almande by Robert Dowland:

Almand by John Dowland:


Almande by Robert Dowland: PDF     Almand by John Dowland: PDF

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