A complete recording of the contents of Royal College of Music, London, Manuscript 2093 with additional keyboard pieces by Gerhard Diesineer and John Moss

Charlston, T. (2020) A complete recording of the contents of Royal College of Music, London, Manuscript 2093 with additional keyboard pieces by Gerhard Diesineer and John Moss. [Audio]

Abstract

This webpage makes a recorded performance of the entirety of the contents of Royal College of Music, London, MS 2093 publicly available for the first time. From the webpage, the user is able to listen to each item in the form of streamed audio. The links to the streaming platform are easy to use and are placed below the title of the piece and, in the case of the RCM MS 2093 pieces, below an incipit giving the first few bars. RCM MS 2093 is an early example of a retrospective compilation assembled over several decades to preserve current and earlier repertoire. It was copied during the 1660s and 1670s and is closely contemporaneous with Stephen Keene's virginal dated 1668 used for the recording. As a witness of contemporary performance practice and musical pedagogy, RCM 2093 reveals important evidence about fingering, ornamentation, figured-bass, and keyboard improvisation. Reading from both ends, the book contains two series of pieces: from one end, a series of preludes; and from the other (by reversing the book) a series of fugues (here called voluntaries and fantasias). It is an early collection of preludes and fugues: a proto-"well-tempered clavier" with each genre recorded separately. Altogether there are thirty pieces organised by genre (twenty-one preludes and voluntaries, three grounds, two fantasias, a trumpet air, song arrangements and dances, and a figured-bass exercise) by John Bull, John Blow, William Byrd, John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, Matthew Locke, John Maynard, Benjamin Rogers, Thomas Weelkes and Abiel Whichello. The recording also includes keyboard dances by Gerhard Diesineer and John Moss. These dances, from a lyra-viol and keyboard manuscript in the Surrey History Centre, Woking and the well-known keyboard publications Melothesia and Musicks Hand-maide, complement the contents of RCM MS 2093 and are played on an original harpsichord by Thomas Barton, London, 1709.

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