This extraordinary movement precedes the opening of Act 1 of Thomas Shadwell’s adaptation of The Tempest
which was sumptuously staged at the Duke’s Theatre, Dorset Garden, in London in 1674. Matthew Locke contributed eleven four-part instrumental movements as incidental music, including this one depicting a placid sea developing into the tempestuous storm that is raging as the action begins. There are several clear and unique instructions in the part books—‘soft’ … ‘violent’ … ‘soft’ … ‘lowd’ … ‘soft and slow by degrees’—in addition to requiring low B flats from the cellos, confirming the use of larger basses de violon tuned a tone lower than normal cellos. This recording was made with four basses de violon and without double-bass.
from notes by Roy Goodman © 1999