Personalities | Henry Lawes | Early Baroque | Classical
Henry Lawes served in the Chapel Royal of Charles I and, in the early part of his career, composed theatre music known as masques. By the early 1630s, Lawes had cultivated a friendship with the poet John Milton, with whom he collaborated on two masques, Arcades (1630), the music for which has not survived, and Comus (1634). The latter is the piece for which Lawes is perhaps best remembered, and it was performed to celebrate the establishment of John Egerton as President of Wales. The composer himself played the part of the Attendant Spirit in the first performance. Many of Lawes’ songs are settings of texts by the Cavalier poets, among them Thomas Carew and Robert Herrick. In these Lawes aimed, in his own words, to shape ‘Notes to the Words and Sense’. Lawes provided a setting of the anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’ for the coronation of Charles II in 1660.
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