UAB Music to present “Dowland Lute Songs and the Cult of Elizabeth I”

The lute songs of John Dowland are famous, but the texts are rarely understood. This multimedia lecture recital will explore the intrigue surrounding the songs.

david walkerDavid WalkerGuest lutenist David Walker will join soprano Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk, DMA, in a faculty recital featuring the lute songs of John Dowland on Monday, Sept. 15.

Hurst-Wajszczuk is associate professor of voice and opera in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Music. She is especially interested in early music, and in 2008, Centaur released her solo recording of Dowland lute songs. She has performed and lectured on the sociopolitical background of the songs internationally. In 2010, she was a participant in Early Music Vancouver’s Baroque Vocal Programme, “The Compleat Singer.”

The recital is set for 7 p.m. in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, Reynolds-Kirschbaum Recital Hall, 1200 10th Ave. South. Admission is free. Call 205-934-7376. The Department of Music is part of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. Visit the Department of Music online at www.uab.edu/cas/music.

dr chrisKristine Hurst-WajszczukThe lute songs of Dowland are justly famous, but the texts are rarely understood, Hurst-Wajszczuk says. This multimedia lecture recital, which will include portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and information about the selections, will explore the intrigue surrounding the songs.

“To fully appreciate Dowland’s lute songs, we must explore the connection between Elizabethan poetry, politics and music,” Hurst-Wajszczuk said. “During her reign, Elizabeth and her government established a powerful propaganda machine that extended throughout politics and the arts, known by historians as the ‘Cult.’ Mythological allusions to Elizabeth abound in the lute song genre, and ‘re-naming’ her was often the indirect means of communicating with her, or criticizing her.”

Several of the texts Dowland set were probably intended as a direct appeal to Elizabeth by Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, who fell in and out of favor with the Queen and was eventually executed, she says.

Lutenist and guitarist Walker has performed extensively throughout the United States earning praise for his technique, elegance, dexterity and control. Walker has appeared in concerts with such groups as Chatham Baroque, Early Music New York, the Newberry Consort, Tempesta di Mare, the Wolf Trap Opera Company and Glimmerglass Opera. He has appeared on National Public Radio’s “Harmonia,” as well as in live and prerecorded broadcasts for numerous NPR affiliates. Walker has been on the faculty at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University, where he directed classical guitar studies. 

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