For those who keep up to date with the latest goings on in 17th century music, you’ll already know that this has been an extremely exciting week. For those who don’t- what’s wrong with you? Grab a ruff and pull on your dublets, and I’ll give you a brief run down of the grand unveiling of the Peerson Project:
Martin Peerson was a 17th century English composer, and old pal of Shakespeare’s. He was incredibly famous in his own time, but fell out of the history books when almost all of his written work was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, shortly after his death. (Also one of his main patrons was murdered by his valet, and the work he owned was largely lost- how dramatic!) Now Richard Rastall, a professor of Early Music in Leeds University, has spent the last 40 years reconstructing one of the few surviving songbooks written by Peerson, and last weekend the music was performed for the first time in about 350 years!
I was lucky enough to be Artist in Residence for the whole project. I spent the time with the ensembles of musicians (singers and viol-players) as they rehearsed the newly-discovered music, performed it, and then spent the following week recording it in the National Early Music Centre. Here are some of the drawings:
More information is available here, and later in the year we’ll be having an exhibition of all the work you see, and more. Details will follow soon…