As part of BBC Radio 3's commemoration of the 400th anniversary in 2008 of John Milton's birth, Catherine Bott travels to Ludlow Castle to explore his masque Comus and the music it has inspired.
With music by Henry Lawes, Comus was a work written to celebrate chastity and it was first presented on Michaelmas 1634, before John Egerton, Earl of Bridgewater, at Ludlow Castle to mark the earl's elevation to Lord President of Wales.
The programme includes excerpts from Comus and Milton's sonnet to Lawes, To Mr H Lawes, on his Aires, read by Robert Glenister.Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634) was a masque written by John Milton in honour of chastity and it was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's elevation to President of Wales with music by Henry Lawes.
Milton and Lawes had a close friendship and collaborated on a number of works, but Lawes was not the last composer to write music for this masque.
In Milton's 400th anniversary year, Catherine Bott travels to Ludlow Castle to explore the occasion of that first performance and the music which Comus went on to inspire.
The programme includes excerpts from Comus and Milton's sonnet to Lawes: To Mr.
Lawes, on his Aires read by Robert Glenister.
HENRY LAWES Sitting by the Streamschandos chan 0682consort of musicke/anthony rooleydecca 470 372-2dorian dor 90105elizabeth kenny (lute)emma kirby (soprano)/academy of ancient music/christopher hogwoodhyperion cda 66135hyperion cda 67589i fagiolinijulianne baird (soprano)/colin tilney (harpsichord)/alison mackay (viola da gamba)les arts florissant/william christieoiseau lyre 421 479-2patrizia kwella (soprano)/margaret cable (mezzo)/david thomas (bass)/academy of ancient music/christopher hogwoodrebecca outram (soprano)/elizabeth kenny (theorbo)robin blaze (countertenor)/elizabeth kenny (theorbo)the consort of musicke/anthony rooleytrack 11
thomas arne by the rushy-fringed bank/ brightest ladytrack 12
henry lawes sweet echo…track 13 (cd2/2)
thomas arne fame's an echo/ not on beds of fading flowerstrack 17track 17
John Milton (father) fair oriana in the morntrack 23
henry lawes sweet stay awhiletrack 2
henry lawes from the heav'ns now i fly;track 3
mazzocchi la catena d'adonetrack 9
william lawes country dance;tracks 20-25
henry lawes sitting by the streamstracks 7, 8
handel comusvirgin classics 3381542