Milton's Comus

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.

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EMS20081213

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.

H.

Lawes, on his Aires read by Robert Glenister.

PLAYLIST:

HENRY LAWES Sitting by the Streams

  • chandos chan 0682
  • consort of musicke/anthony rooley
  • decca 470 372-2
  • dorian dor 90105
  • elizabeth kenny (lute)
  • emma kirby (soprano)/academy of ancient music/christopher hogwood
  • hyperion cda 66135
  • hyperion cda 67589
  • i fagiolini
  • julianne baird (soprano)/colin tilney (harpsichord)/alison mackay (viola da gamba)
  • les arts florissant/william christie
  • oiseau lyre 421 479-2
  • patrizia kwella (soprano)/margaret cable (mezzo)/david thomas (bass)/academy of ancient music/christopher hogwood
  • rebecca outram (soprano)/elizabeth kenny (theorbo)
  • robin blaze (countertenor)/elizabeth kenny (theorbo)
  • the consort of musicke/anthony rooley
  • track 11

    thomas arne by the rushy-fringed bank/ brightest lady

  • track 12

    henry lawes sweet echo…

  • track 13 (cd2/2)

    thomas arne fame's an echo/ not on beds of fading flowers

  • track 17
  • track 17

    John Milton (father) fair oriana in the morn

  • track 23

    henry lawes sweet stay awhile

  • track 2

    henry lawes from the heav'ns now i fly;

  • track 3

    mazzocchi la catena d'adone

  • track 9

    segue to:

    william lawes country dance;

  • tracks 20-25

    henry lawes sitting by the streams

  • tracks 7, 8

    handel comus

  • virgin classics 3381542