John Dowland: Galliard on a galliard by Daniel Bacheler (P 28) Well, if you thought that Bacheler’s original galliard in my previous post was difficult, this one made on it is really testing!
Dowland wrote this galliard presumably as a compliment to his younger contemporary. It is described in the MS (British Library Add. 38539) as “A gallyard upon the gallyard before”, which was entitled “A gallyard by Mr Dan: Bacheler” and which, in turn, was based on Bacheler’s own song “To plead my faith”.
|The subscription (end title) of Bacheler’s original galliard.|
|The subscription of Dowland’s version.
Note the penultimate note, which assumes a fourth diapaison course!
Facsimilies of British Library Ms Add. 38539 from Sarge Gerbodes website here.
I would have found making the arrangement well-nigh impossible if I had not relied completely on the transcription by Poulton & Lam. How any lute player managed to play the piece from the lute tabs, especially in manuscript, beggars belief. I am full of awe.
Dowland’s first bar is very similar to Bacheler’s, and then deviates more and more. As in the original, there are three strains, each with a variation, but Dowland has lengthened the first two from 8 to 9 bars.
The whole piece is full of invention, and surprisingly playful. In her biography of Dowland, Diana Poulton writes: “The repeat of the second strain is of exceptional interest” because bars 33 and 34 (the repeat of bars 24 and 25) are “not a division at all, but a free variation, since at this point he completely destroys the original harmonic framework”. These bars in particular have a wonderful galloping feel.
If you fancy a challenge, you can download the arrangements in various formats using the links below. Incidentally, I had given up posting Midi files as I thought it was a bit patronising, but this piece is so challenging in the timekeeping, I thought I’d include one this time.