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Smirnova T.

On the madrigal of Edward Johnson «Come blessed Byrd» (from the “Triumphes of Oriana” collection, 1601)

The article is devoted to the madrigal «Come blessed Byrd» by Edward Johnson, the English musician of the last third of the 16th century highly valued during his lifetime. It was one among the other 24 compositions of a wide range of authors included in the anthology of English madrigals «The Triumphs of Oriana», prepared and printed in London in 1601 at the initiative of Thomas Morley.

Analysis of the semantic content of Johnson’s madrigal has been done taking into account the results of English musicologists researches and their versions of interpreting the poetic base of madrigal, which contains in a veiled allegorical form the «statement» of historical, cultural and political events of England at the time of the last years of the reign of Elizabeth I.

There are variety of names mentioned in the Johnson’s madrigal – mysterious, like Bonny bootes, or referring to the favorite literary, theatrical and musical arts of the late English Renaissance heroes of the court romances and ancient mythology. It forces the researches to find their relations to the real historical figures. Although such identification allows ambivalent interpretation so it should not be absolutized as the only one possible way to understand the artistic sense of the text and vocal compositions.

The attention to poetic base of the Johnson’s madrigal, having similarities with the Italian species of the genre, as well as the features of its musical realization in a manner of “word-painting”, allows not only to expand and concretize the understanding of the English Renaissance madrigal but also to force its further study in Russian musicology.

Key words

Renaissance, Elizabeth I, Edward Johnson, Thomas Morley, “The Triumphs of Oriana”, The English madrigal, pastoral, wordpainting.

For citation

Smirnova T. On the madrigal of Edward Johnson «Come blessed Byrd» (from the “Triumphes of Oriana” collection, 1601) // South-Russian musical anthology. 2020. No 2. Pp. 95–103.