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The English lutenist and composer John Dowland was born in London in 1563 and died there in 1626; he achieved great fame as a virtuoso on the lute and a fine singer, but his place in the history of music is as a song-writer. He published four volumes of songs from 1597 and his printed songs are 87 in number and were scored for five-part string consort. He was a pioneer in the development of the �art song�, making notable advances in melodic and harmonic style. Dowland was given to melancholy and his finest songs have a quality of sadness about them. Today Dowland is considered to be among England�s finest composers, and in his own time was held in high esteem by his contemporaries. Shakespeare in one of his sonnets from �The Passionate Pilgrim� which begins �If music and sweet poetry agree,� refers to him thus:
�Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch
Upon the lute doth ravish human sense.�
Reviews of English Song: Dowland, J - Now, O now I needs must part - arr. for Soprano & String Quartet by Gerald Manning
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