Monday 28th April 2003

Michael Filiksy let me know about a show that might be of interest. He says:

“This week the BBC Radio 3 show “Music Restored” presented a celebration of Pepys’ 300th death anniversary. The program(me) includes music of Pepys’ London (Purcell, Locke, Playford, etc.) interspersed with the diarist’s words read by an actor. There seems to be a gap of a minute or so at about 3 minutes, but stay with it and be rewarded. The commentary is by Lucie Skeaping, the host. BBC seems to archive these programs for one week only, so tune in before Thursday 1 May.”

You can listen to the show and read the playlist.

2 Comments

Glyn   Link to this

If you wish to hear some of these pieces played live, and can be in London this Friday (2 May 6.15 - 7.30pm) the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Lane, London is holding a free concert of 17th and 18th-century music written for the viol, including pieces mentioned in the diary.

Warren Keith Wright   Link to this

Do not miss this delightful hour-long program, narrated by Lucie Skeaping, an ebullient performer of music from this period herself (with, among other groups, The City Waites). Henry Lawes’s “Orpheus’ Hymn,” discussed in annotations hitherto, is heard; dances from John Playford’s “Dancing Master”; and Pepys’s own setting of Davenant’s “Beauty Retire,” from a disc fairly hard to locate. (The playlist gives complete recording details.)
It is amusing that the Diary extracts tend to feature Pepys’s dismay when performers, instruments, or composers fall short of his hopes. Given his disparagement on the fragmentation and repetition of English texts, contrary to the whole purpose of vocal music (to paraphrase him), perhaps he would not have cared so much, after all, for Purcell’s genius at doing just that, in the decades succeeding.
But Pepys’s enthusiasm for music, the thing in which he takes most pleasure (well, well!), comes to the fore at program’s end. Listen and you may want to join in:
“Thy early Spring in Purple robes comes forth;
Thy Summers South does conquer all the North:
And though thy Winter freeze the Hearts of Men:
Glad wine, glad wine from autumn cheers them up again!”
---conclusion to John Birkenhead’s text for “Orpheus’ Hymn”
(mentioned in the entry for 4 March 1659/60)
Technical note: even with my 28K dial-up modem, which never aspires higher than 26.4 at best, the Webcast came over relatively well and uninterrupted, most of the time in full stereo.

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