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G 12.001 CoverMatthew Locke (1621/22–1677)
For Several Friends, Vol. I
Suites 1 (G minor/G major) and 2 (B flat major)

for soprano or tenor recorder and basso continuo
Edited by Franz Müller-Busch
Realization of the thorough bass by Eckhart Kuper

Girolamo G 12.001, score and 2 parts, € 19,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-005-3

sample page

G 11.015 G 12.002




Matthew Locke was born in 1621 or 1622 most likely in Devon and died 1677 in London. Along with William Byrd (1543–1623), William Lawes (1602–1645) and Henry Purcell (1659–1695) he was one of the most important and distinctive musical personalities of the English baroque era. He composed mainly theatre music as well as instrumental chamber music. During the Commonwealth Locke frequented aristocratic and middle-class circles. In 1660, the year of the restoration, Locke was appointed court composer by Charles II and was made responsible for a variety of tasks. He kept this post until his death. His successor was Henry Purcell.

Under the shelf mark Add. MS 17801 one can find in the British Library a volume that comprises various works by Locke in his own handwriting. In the beginning of the volume one can find the collecion entitled Ffor Severall Ffriends consisting of 54 consecutively numbered suite movements on 21 pages. The single movements are not expressly grouped together in suites but the fact that they are sorted according to keys suggests that they are designed as such. Certainly it is not wrong to arrange one’s own succession of movements to form a suite.

The present edition is very close to the autograph. Beat signs and joining beams over the notes are preserved, the accidentals have been brought up to date and additional remarks by the editor are indicated by brackets. Since the manuscript does not suggest any kind of instrumentation one can probably play the piece on various instruments. The unfigured bass nevertheless demands harmonisation, since without a harmonic foundation the upper voice would sound rather thin. In some places for the recorder in c the transposition of an octave up- or downwards was inavoidable, which is indicated by brackets.

There are no embellishments to be found in Locke’s manuscript and consequently none have been added to this edition. Thus everyone can add his own embellishments and should interpret the piece in the preferred style. It is advisable to be sparing with trills and mordenti, also one should embellish the repetitions with great taste and moderation. The latest fashion of playing Locke in the French style has to be questionned since Locke was one of the strongest advocates of an English musical tradition and certainly would not have approved of foreign influences. Presumably he would have reacted to this with one of his bitter-venomous remarks.

Translation: J. Whybrow

Calw, November 1995, Franz Müller-Busch