Monday, September 10, 2007

William Lawes (1602-1645)

Sierra Club


William Lawes (brother of Henry Lawes) was, with his brother Henry, a court musician to Charles I. He enjoyed great favor and friendship with the king, and when the king moved the court to Oxford, William followed and was made a commissary in the king's personal life guards. He was shot and killed at Chester while riding with the king whose troops were attempting to free a garrison there. He was remembered by the king as the "Father of Musick" and his portrait as a cavalier hangs in the Faculty of Music at Oxford. His work consists of instrumental, vocal and stage works and he was the most important English composer of stage music prior to Henry Purcell. None of his works were published in his lifetime, but his influence on other composers of his day as well as those who followed was considerable. The rise of Henry Purcell ultimately overshadowed Lawes' work, but he still maintains an important position in the history of mid 17th century English music. [Adapted from Karadar]


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