Lawes, Henry, English composer, brother of William Lawes; b. Dinton, Wiltshire, Jan. 5, 1596; d. London, Oct. 21, 1662. He studied in London. In 1626 he became “pistoler” and Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, then clerk. In 1631 he became one of the King’s musicians for the lutes and voices. He also was music master to the Earl of Bridgewater. He lost these appointments during the Protectorate, but was reinstated in 1660. He is interred in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. Lawes is historically important because his infinite care in setting texts with proper note and accent marked a step in the development of vocal composition that culminated in Purcell.
(all publ. in London unless otherwise given): vocal: sacred: A Paraphrase upon the Psalmes of David by G[eorge]S[andys] set to New Tunes for Private Devotion for Voice and Basso Continuo (1638); Choice Psalmes put into Musick for 3 Voices and Basso Continuo (1648; includes 30 full anthems); 3 other full anthems; 6 verse anthems; 11 anthems (only text extant). secular:Ayres and Dialogues…for 1 to 3 Voices (3 vols., 1653, 1655, 1658); in all, his songs number 434; also the masques Comus (Sept. 29, 1634) and The Triumphs of Peace.
W. McClung Evans, H. L, Musician and Friend of Poets (N.Y., 1941); P. Willett, The H. L. Manuscript (London, 1969).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire