Gitaar Hoek




John Dowland

1563 | 1626


It is generally thought that John Dowland was born in London, however he dedicated the song "From Silent Night" to 'my loving countryman Mr. John Forster the younger, merchant of Dublin in Ireland' indicating a possible origin in Ireland. At the age of seventeen he traveled to Paris where he was employed by the English ambassador Sir Henry Cobham, and later Sir Edward Stafford. Dowland converted to catholicism during his time in France, and then returned to England in 1584 to marry. Four years later he was studied music composition at Christ Church, Oxford and played before Queen Elizabeth in 1592. When a vacancy for a lutenist in the Queen's court came up in 1594, Downland was unsuccessful in his application, claiming the protestant court's discrimination against him for being catholic; this is unlikely considering the presence of other catholic musicians in the court such as William Byrd. In 1598 John Dowland then subsequently found favor with the royal court of King Christian IV of Denmark, while continuing to publish in London. Evidently the King was fond of Dowland's music, as he paid the lutenist 500 daler a year - one of the highest salaries amongst servants of the court. This high regard was tainted by Dowland's overstaying his leave while in England on publishing business. His dismissal in 1606 was tempered by his employment in the English court as one of King James I's lutenists 1612. There are few compositions dating from the period of Dowland's royal appointment in England. His final payment from the court was on 20 January 1626 and he was buried only a month later at St Ann's, Blackfriars, London.

John Dowland


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