<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson A DELIGHTFUL AIRING
Locke's keyboard music is not major stuff. Most of the pieces come from his
Melothesia, or Certain General Rules for Playing upon a Continued-Bass.
It is essentially a practical treatise, with delightful pieces by way of
illustration, concise and pithy. Many of the movements are English in name
and style, both catchy and robust. A 'Country Dance' in C makes the point at
once [listen -- track 7, 0:01-1:08].
When Locke calls a couple of G minor pieces 'Virago' and 'Roundo', it is
as well to remember that a virago need not always be a harridan; indeed in
the Latin Bible, Adam calls Eve 'virago', for the good reason that she took
her shape from his manly rib [listen -- tracks 10 and 11].
It is much the same with Locke's 'Rant'. Automatically one thinks of politicians
and the season of party conferences. Locke may not have done so. Ben Jonson's
secretary, Richard Brome, wrote a play, The Jovial Crew, later turned into
an 'operetta'. It was highly successful, and Locke may well have been amused
by it. One of the characters declares his philosophy: 'The more the merrier,
I am resolv'd to Rant it to the last.' Locke's music concurs
[listen -- track 21, 0:00-0:57]. So far Terence Charlston has
used only single and double harpsichords, both modern reproductions of the sort
of instruments Locke knew.
Copyright © 16 November 2003
Robert Anderson, London UK