excerpt from 'Coryats Crudities' pp. 250-253 (521 words)

excerpt from 'Coryats Crudities' pp. 250-253 (521 words)

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Coryats Crudities

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...I heard much good musicke at Saint Markes Church, but especially that of a treble violl which was so excellent, that I thinke no man could surpasse it. Also there were sagbuts and cornets as at St. Laurence feast which yeelded passing good musicke. The third feast was upon Saint Roches day being Saturday and the sixth day of August, where I heard the best musicke that ever I did in all my life both in the morning and in the afternoone, so good that I would willingly goe an hundred miles a foote at any time to hear the like...This feast consisted principally of Musicke, which was both vocall and instrumentall, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so superexcellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like... Sometimes there sung sixteene or twenty men together, having their master or moderator to keep them in order; and when they sung, the instrumentall musicians played also. Sometimes sixteene played together upon their instruments, ten Sagbuts, foure Cornets, and two Violdegambaes of an extraordinary greatnesse; sometimes tenne, sixe Sagbuts and foure Cornets; sometimes two, a Cornet and a treble violl. Of those treble viols I heard three three severall there, whereof each was so good, especially one that I observed above the rest, that I never heard the like before. Those that played upon the treble viols, sung and played together, and sometimes two singular fellowes played together upon Theorboes, to which they sung also, who yeelded admirable sweet musicke, but so still that they could scarce be heard but by those that were very neare them. These two Theorbists concluded the nights musicke, which continued three whole howers at the least... Also it continued as long in the morning: at every time that every severall musicke played, the Organs, whereof there are seven faire paire in that roome, standing al in a row together, plaied with them. Of the singers there were three or foure so excellent that I thinke few or none in Christendome do exell them, especially one, who had such a peerlesse and (as I may in a maner say) such a supernaturall voice for sweetnesse, that I thinke there was never a better singer in all the world, insomuch that he did not onely give the most pleasant contentment that could be imagined, to all the hearers, but also did as it were astonish and amaze them. I alwaies thought that he was an Eunuch, which if he had beene, it had taken away some part of my admiration, because they do most comonly sing passing wel; but he was not, therefore it was much the more admirable. Againe it was the more worthy of admiration, because he was a middle-aged man, about forty yeares old... Truly I thinke that had a Nightingale beene in the same roome, and contended with him for the superioritie, something perhaps he might excell him, because God hath granted that little birde such a priviledge for the sweetnesses of his voice, as to none other: but I thinke he could not much.

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excerpt from 'Coryats Crudities' pp. 250-253 (521 words)


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