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Dowland's Lachrimae Antiquae
Symphonic Orchestration, 2m30s

Renaissance composer John Dowland (1563-1626) wrote a series of seven variations on his own tune Flow, My Tears for a five-part consort.  These are considered an important step in the development of counterpoint and are, besides that, gorgeous. Here, I try my hand at orchestrating the first of the seven, to which Dowland gave the Latin title Lachrimae Antiquae.

The First section features a duet for the orchestra's trumpets.  Dowland's writing in the middle section is perhaps the most complex; although other strategies for this section were intriguing, I went with an orchestration technique that kaleidoscopically changes in timbre while always retaining the integrity of each of the five lines.  The final section features the full, grand sound of the orchestra.


Three Flutes
Two Oboes
English Horn
Two Clarinets in B-flat
Bass Clarinet in B-flat
Two Bassoons

Four Horns in F
Two Trumpets in C (duet feature)
Two Tenor Trombones
Bass Trombone

Percussion: Chimes


Violins I, II