Glenn Gould plays Orlando Gibbons - Lord of Salisbury
Orlando Gibbons apparently never lacked for friends in high places. No less a personage than King James I gave the composer 150 pounds stirling in recognition of his faithful musical service; at other times Gibbons' musical gifts graced the chambers of the Prince of Wales (later King Charles), the Princess Elizabeth, the Earl of Arundel, and the Earl of Somerset, for whom Gibbons composed some wedding music. Like his predecessor William Byrd, Gibbons also apparently cultivated the favors of other persons at the royal court, including three royal chaplains and the Earl of Salisbury. (One manuscript source itself perversely attests to Gibbons' widespread contacts, it being copied by an English recusant gentleman while languishing in the Fleet Street Prison.) Several manuscript collections preserve a pair of dances -- the stately Pavan and an associated Galliard -- with that gentleman's name attached, though the "Lord Salisbury" apparently received Gibbons' dances as a memorial tribute after his death.
As with the wealth of contemporary English pavans, Gibbons sets his "Lord Salisbury" Pavan in a stately duple meter, with three repeating sections. Thus, in courtly dancing circles, the dance could be appropriate to a processional entry dance. However, this particular dance displays a rich and even chromatic harmonic palette, and a third strain full of dense and more severe counterpoint, both more evocative of a funeral memorial. In addition, the first strain extends its final cadence to fill an irregular and offbeat phrase structure. English composers quite often paired a Pavan with an attendant Galliard, a second dance in more lively triple meter, though this is the only such pair surviving from Gibbons' hand. The "Lord Salisbury" Galliard shares with the first dance a severe minor mode, a harmonic language rich in color and nuance, and a texture laced with blistering ornamentation. The Galliard also shares with the Pavan a somewhat unsettling use of irregular phrase structures: its three strains oscillate between seven measures, nine measures, and finally at the close, eight measures. Romantic history might see in this piece a composer pouring out his grief in stylized musical language.
Music: Glenn Gould plays Orlando Gibbons - Lord of Salisbury - Description by Timothy Dickey - Links
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