8th session: Tuesday 5th April

Resuming today we went back to our roots, with a look at some early repertoire, beginning with a suite by the guitarist-composer Robert DeVisée 1655-1733, full of Versailles elegance. DeVisée was a court musician for both Louis XIV and XV and was given the title “Guitar Master of the King” (Maître de Guitare du Roi) in 1719.


Representing contemporaneous Ireland, we played a couple of tunes by harpist-composer Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738): Planxty Browne, and Carolan’s Farewell to Music. These pieces are of course written as single-line melodies but they have plenty in common with the Versailles repertoire above, and can very successfully be given very similar arrangement. OCarolan

[Carolan’s memorial in St.Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin]

Taking ourselves back to the early 17th century we enjoyed playing a Romanesca by violinist-composer Biagio Marini (1594-1663) who travelled widely but is most associated with Venice. The Romanesca was one of the popular chord sequences from the mid 16th- century; Greensleeves is an example.

Finally we looked at a piece by Marini’s German contemporary Johann Schop (1590-1667) [pictured below]. His Lachrimae Pavane consists of quite extraordinary divisions (variations) on a melody by John Dowland (1562-1622).
Johann_SchopDowland is believed to have been born in Dalkey and is commemorated with a mosaic in Sorrento Park.

  • Malachy 5/4/16

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