Hamlet's Tears - Kulturnatten

Skt. Petri Kirke, Larslejsstræde 11, 1451 Copenhagen
Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 9.00pm

Tickets: Only entry with Culture Night Pass, which can be bought in most S Train stations, libraries and cultural institutions in Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. More info at KULTURNATTEN.DK

20 minutes concert.

Hamlet’s Tears

In a very real sense this program was created by the composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, when he chose Dowland’s famous song Flow my tears – also known simply as Lacrimae - as the basis for a series of works for Theatre of Voices and London Sinfonietta. Material from the song is used (somewhat obscurely) in Sounds I and II and (gradually more distinctly) in Song. The latter is then combined with a separate instrumental work called Play. He then composed Green for us, using a text from King Henry VIII’s Songbook, and this was then combined with a jazzy version of Pachelbel’s canon for string quartet, written for the Kronos Quartet.

Meanwhile, I was inspired to look again at Dowland’s own variations on the Lacrimae song. This is a set of seven “passionate pavans” for a consort of viols – pure chamber music and one of the first masterpieces of the genre. But just as Dowland himself had texted many of his own songs in versions for a consort of voices, I started to look for texts (modern as well as Renaissance) that would fit this magnificent music. I found them, mostly among more modern poets: T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, and Geoffrey Hill, though there is also one text by Dowland’s contemporary, Thomas Browne.

Finally, with Green, I decided to add a few more partsongs from Henry VIII’s Songbook, including of course the original version with the text that Pelle has used in Green.
The result is an unusual tapestry of music and texts, new and old, which are linked in several ways, not least in the association of Denmark and England. Dowland worked in Denmark for a period in the service of King Christian IV and perhaps even composed some of the Lacrimae music in Kronborg castle – still haunted today by the ghost of Shakespeare’s most famous play.

Paul Hillier, artistic director

Hamlet's Tears - Kulturnatten


20 minutes concert. Excerpts from:

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Sounds I
Henry VIII’s Songbook: Love songs
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Sounds II
Anthony Holborne: Dance songs
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Green
William Byrd: Though Amaryllis dance in green
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Song
John Dowland: Lacrimae 1,2
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: new work
John Dowland: Lacrimae 3,4,5
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: new work
John Dowland: Lacrimae 6,7


Theatre of Voices:
Else Torp, soprano
Signe Asmussen, mezzo
Chris Watson, tenor
Stuart Kinsella, tenor
Jakob Bloch Jespersen, bass
Paul Hillier, Artistic Director

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