chapter  4
24 Pages

The True Christmas: Carols at the Court of Charles I

WithDavid Pinto

Music in seventeenth-century England conforms, one way or another, to a Europe-wide pattern of cultural dislocation caused by social upheaval. Musical innovations there, both before and during the war years, are resistant to enquiry, owing at least partly to the general freedom of worship enjoyed in the Commonwealth period, and the resulting lack of ritual continuity. The prospect of music in civil-war Oxford has indeed drifted and again before the eyes of adventurers, but they have relied on maps that contained little productive detail of the terrain. Of court music more than a decade before that Anthony Wood had nothing to say, for the condonable reason that he had no knowledge of it. The shift is from Laudian sobriety to a carefree mood fitting the love of ceremony typical of Williams, a notable patron of music and decidedly more easy-going than Laud.