Performers: The Musicians of Swanne Alley
Directors: Paul O'Dette and Lyle Nordstrom
Swanne Alley, the London street of musicians, was alive with music during the last quarter of the sixteenth century, alive with the sounds of the consort, of recorders, voices, and viols—alive with infectious, earthy English melody. The variety of musical forms on this CD reflects the flexibility of these native melodies, especially the ballad tune. Many wealthy English families of the period retained musicians. The family of Thomas Kytson of Hengrave, Suffolk, employed "the musicians of Swanne Alley" at their London house paying them "for many times playing with their instruments for my master and mistress." The music presented here demonstrates the wide range of musical literature of the time including English part songs, instrumental dances, grounds, country dances, lute music, and music for consort.