Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/119

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LAWES.
107
LAYS.

same title in 1655 and 1658. In 1656 he was engaged with Capt. Henry Cooke, Dr. Charles Colman and George Hudson in providing the music for Davenant's 'First Day's Entertainment of Musick at Rutland House.' On the Restoration in 1660 Lawes was reinstated in his Court appointments. He composed the anthem 'Zadok the Priest,' for the coronation of Charles II. He died Oct. 21, 1662, and was buried Oct. 25 in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. Many of his songs are to be found in 'Select Musicall Ayres and Dialogues,' 1652, 1653 and 1659, and 'The Treasury of Musick,' 1669.

Henry Lawes was highly esteemed by his contemporaries, both as a composer and performer. Milton praises him in both capacities, and Herrick in an epigram places him on a level with some of the most renowned singers and players of his time; but later writers have formed a lower estimate of his abilities as a composer. Burney declares his productions to be 'languid and insipid, and equally devoid of learning and genius'; and Hawkins speaks of his music as deficient in melody and 'neither recitative nor air, but in so precise a medium between both that a name is wanting for it.' But both appear to judge from a false point of view. It was not Lawes's object to produce melody in the popular sense of the word, but to get 'words with just note and accent,' to make the prosody of his text his principal care; and it was doubtless that quality which induced all the best poetical writers of his day, from Milton and Waller downwards, to desire that their verses should be set by him. To effect his object he employed a kind of 'aria parlante,' a style of composition which, if expressively sung, would cause as much gratification to the cultivated hearer as the most ear-catching melody would to the untrained listener. Lawes was careful in the choice of words, and the words of his songs would form a very pleasing volume of lyric poetry. Hawkins says that notwithstanding Lawes 'was a servant of the church, he contributed nothing to the increase of its stores'; but, besides the coronation anthem before mentioned, there are (or were) in an old choir book of the Chapel Royal fragments of 8 or 10 anthems by him, and the words of several of his anthems are given in Clifford's 'Divine Services and Anthems,' 1664. A portrait of Henry Lawes is in the Music School, Oxford.

John Lawes, a brother of Henry, was a lay vicar of Westminster Abbey. He died in Jan. 1654–5, and was buried in the Abbey cloisters.

Rev. Thomas Lawes, commonly but erroneously stated to be the father, but probably the uncle, of William and Henry Lawes, was a vicar choral of Salisbury Cathedral. He died Nov. 7 1640, and was buried in the north transept of the cathedral.

William Lawes, elder brother of Henry, received musical instruction from Coperario at the expense of the Earl of Hertford. He became a member of the choir of Chichester Cathedral, which he quitted in 1602, on being appointed a gentleman of the Chapel Royal. He was sworn in Jan. 1, 1602–3. In 1611 he resigned his place in favour of Ezekiel Waad, a lay vicar of Westminster Abbey, but on Oct. 1 following was re-admitted 'without paie.' He was also one of the musicians in ordinary to Charles I. In 1633 he composed part of the music for Shirley's 'Triumphs of Peace.' An anthem by him is printed in Boyce's Cathedral Music; songs and other vocal compositions in 'Select Musicall Ayres and Dialogues,' 1653 and 1659, 'Catch that catch can,' 1652, 'The Treasury of Musick,' 1669, and 'Choice Psalms,' 1648; and some of his instrumental music in 'Courtly Masquing Ayres,' 1662. The autograph MSS. of his music for several Court masques are preserved in the Music School, Oxford. 'The Royal Consort' for viols and some 'Airs' for violin and bass are in the British Museum, Add. MS. 10,445, and some of his vocal music is in Add. MS. 11,608. On the breaking out of the Civil War he joined the Royalist army and was made a commissary by Lord Gerrard, to exempt him from danger, but his active spirit disdaining that security, he was killed by a stray shot during the siege of Chester, 1645.

[ W. H. H. ]

LAY. A Provençal word, originally probably Celtic, meaning at first a sound or noise, and then a song, especially the tune, as the quotations from Spenser, Milton and Dryden in Johnson's Dictionary prove. Beyond this general sense the term has no application to music. The German 'Lied' is another form of the word.

[ G. ]

LAY VICAR or LAY CLERK, a singer in Cathedral Choirs. [See Vicar Choral.]

LAYS, François, a famous French singer, whose real name was Lay, born Feb. 14, 1758, at La Barthe de Nestés in Gascony. He learned music in the monastery of Guaraison, but before he was 20 his fame as a singer had spread, and in April 1779 he found himself at Paris to be tried for the Grand Opera. His name first appears in Lajarte's catalogue of first representations, as Petrarque, in a 'pastoral héröique' by Candeille, called 'Laure et Pétrarque,' July 2, 1780, and is spelt Laïs. His next [1]mention is in the 'Iphigénie en Tauride' of Piccinni, Jan. 23, 1781, where he has the rôle of a coryphée. After that he appears frequently in company with Madlle. Saint-Huberti, a famous soprano of that day. He was also attached to the concerts of Marie Antoinette, and to the Concert Spirituel. He was a poor actor, unless in parts specially written for him; but the splendour of his voice made up for everything, and he preserved it so well as to remain in the company of the Grand Opera till October 1822. Lays was a violent politician on the popular side, which did not please his colleagues, and some quarrels arose in consequence, but with no further result than to cause him to write a

  1. The rôle of the 'Seigneur bienfalsant' is said by Fétis to have been written for him, but his name does not appear In th company at the first performance of that piece.