During the reign of Henry VIII music occupied an important part of courtly life in England. The king played several instruments including the lute, and attracted many of Europe's best musicians to his court. Queen Elizabeth shared her father's love for music and also played the lute. By 1593 she had five lutenists in her Musick and four of these were English. John Dowland applied for the post of John Johnson, who died in 1594, but his hopes were dashed and no one was appointed. Lutenists continued to be supported by the court, however, and James I increased the number back to five when he appointed John Dowland in 1612. The enthusiasm the royal court showed for the lute influenced the aristocracy and in this fertile climate a number of virtuosi emerged. An English style of lute playing was established which reached its highest artistic level during the decades around 1600. The programme includes music from this period by Robert Johnson, John Dowland, Daniel Bacheler, Francis Cutting, William Byrd and many others. A number of Scottish pieces appear in lute manuscripts of this period, which shows an infusion of Scottish culture into the English court.
This programme also playable on original lute