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Elizabeth Rogers: Hir Virginall Booke
The 1656 manuscript known as Elizabeth Rogers Hir Virginall Booke is described by Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians as “one of the last collections of genuine virginal music, distinguished by its melodic freshness… Except for Byrd’s ‘Battell’ [a composition already contained in My Ladye Nevells Booke (Dover, 22246-2)] no item of the collection has so far appeared in reprint.” Now Charles J. F. Cofone has hand-copied the manuscript in the British Museum so that this music could be available to all.
In clear and handsome calligraphy, this publication brings you all the compositions in the original manuscript – 112 pieces in all, including 25 songs and the 12 individual parts of Byrd’s composition “The Battell”. Although all the compositions appear anonymously in the manuscript, many of the composers’ names were tracked down by the means of other sources; they are: Richard Balls, Thomas Brewer, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Robert Johnson, Henry Lawes, William Lawes, Nicholas Laniere, John Wilson, and Thomas Strengthfield. Mr. Cofone has modernized the notation and the transcription of staves and clefs to render the works more accessible to the modern performer. He has also contributed analytical notes for each piece and an informative introduction covering the manuscript (its history and physical description), the virginal, virginal music, the composers represented, the principles of his edition, and the political history of the age in which the compositions were written.
This publication is obviously an extremely valuable document for musicologists and students of music, but the professional pianist or harpsichordist and the amateur performer will also appreciate it as a wonderful source of early keyboard material that has long been unseen and unperformed.
Publisher: Dover Publications
Author / Composer: Elizabeth Rogers