Lanier, Nicholas

views updated

Lanier, Nicholas

Lanier, Nicholas, English lutenist, singer, composer, and painter; b. London (baptized), Sept. 10, 1588; d. there (buried), Feb. 24, 1666. He was made lutenist in the King’s Musick (1616), then Master of the Musick to Prince Charles, and subsequently Master of the King’s Musick upon the latter’s accession (1625), although no formal appointment as such was made. A large portion of his music is not extant. He was a significant composer of songs. He may have introduced the stylo recitativo to England in his music to Ben Jonson’s masque Lovers Made Men (London, Feb. 22, 1617; music not extant); he sang in the production, and also painted the scenery. His other stage works were Marke…at the Marriage of…the Earle of Somerset, to a text by T. Campion (London, 1613; in collaboration with G. Coprario), The Vision of Delight, to a text by B. Jonson (London, 1617), The Gypsies Metamorphosed, to a text by B. Jonson (London, 1621; in collaboration with R. Johnson), and The Masque of Augurs (London, 1622). He also set to music (1630) Her-rick’s poem on the birth of Prince Charles and wrote the extended recitative “Nor can’st thou yet” for Hero and Leander. His song MSS are found in various British libraries; many of them appeared in various collections of his time. See I. Spink, ed., English Songs 1625-1660, Musica Britannica, XXXIII (1971), and E. Huws Jones, ed., Nicholas Lanier: Six Songs (London, 1976).


M. Wilson, The Life and Times of N. L. (1588–1666), Master of the King’s Musick (Brookfield, Vt., 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

More From