5 Symphonies and Loud Music
This set of 5 symphonies and ‘Loud Music’ were commissioned in 1633 by lawyer Bulstrode Whitelocke for the Masque The Triumph of Peace, written by famed English playwright James Shirely. Whitelocke had been hired by Shirely to arrange the music for the Masque, which was itself commissioned by the Inns of Court to demonstrate their loyalty to the English monarchy. William Lawes and Simon Ives were obvious choices for the roles of composers, not only because of their reputations as noted educators and composers, but also due to the serendipitous deaths of many of their competitors: Johnson, Lupo, Ferrabosco the younger, and Coprario all expired in the years preceding the commission. These pieces are not symphonies in the traditional sense but shorter instrumental works. “In the Masque, the symphony was a short and usually lively piece preceding a song. Its function was to enable costumed musicians to take up singing positions at the front of the acting area…” ~ Andrew Ashbee.