Lachrymae is a series of variations on the first phrase of Dowland’s song ‘If my complaints could passions move’. Following a Lento introduction in which the song is quoted in the bass of the piano part, a sequence of contrasting ‘reflections’ ensues. In the sixth, Appassionato, Britten quotes from another Dowland song, ‘Flow my tears’. The last section returns by means of a slow crescendo to Dowland’s original melody and harmony, when it is heard complete for the first time. Britten’s exploration of the Dowland material is extremely thorough, and it generates not only the principal melodic material but the harmonic vocabulary as well. Such is its organic resourcefulness that the techniques used in Lachrymae are reminiscent of the exhaustive musical derivations to be found in the Church Parables of the subsequent decade.
from notes by Philip Reed © 1996
Complete: Lachrymae [13'08]
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|Roger Chase (viola), The Nash Ensemble, Lionel Friend (conductor)|
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