English composer, brother of William Lawes, possibly a pupil of John Cooper (Coperario). Lawes tutored the daughters of the Earl of Bridgewater, to whom he dedicated his first book of Ayres and Dialogues 1653. He was named a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1626, and a member of the King's Musick in 1631, a court post which as a Royalist he lost during the Commonwealth.
Henry Lawes was the most prolific song composer in England at that time (he left over 430 songs), sensitive to the feeling and diction of the poems he set. His best songs were of the serious and declamatory type, in an expressionistic rather than melodious style. His masque music is important; at Milton's request he wrote music for Comus, performed at Ludlow Castle in July 1634; he also acted in it. He wrote music for plays by Herrick and Cartwright, and also two books of psalms for private devotions.
The links below let you hear the Lawes chant, played by the computer on a synthesised organ.
The buttons will play the chant in the browser, if the correct plugin is installed.
It will play twice, and clicking on the link again will cause it to repeat.
You might need to click Refresh on your browser, or press F5 before playing, as the chant files change regularly.
Go back to Psalm of the Week.
May 17, 2008