Collection of pieces for guitar composed by Mr. François Le Cocq, retired musician of the Chapel Royal in Brussels and other different excellent authors copied for his use by I.B.L. de Castillion. Prevot de S.te Pharailde, Vicar general to Monseig.r the bishop of Ghent.
I will praise God my creator with the guitar.
I have found the pieces for guitar by Monsieur François Le Cocq of such noble composition, and so much to my taste, that in spite of my other occupations I tried to find the leisure to copy myself into a proper book a great number of them which that excellent author had graciously presented to me.
It is from that volume that this collection is taken, likewise copied in my own hand, in order to avoid the omissions that another might make and to assure myself thus that the pieces included here are the same as the originals which he trusted to me, and which were signed in his hand, among others those which he had played before the great Princess, her serene highness, the Archduchess, Governor of the Low Countries, (Note1) and sister of the Emperor Charles VI, our august sovereign.
It is known with how much applause and how greatly his airs were enjoyed. They were all of a new and easy turn [of phrase], a melody which awakens and which reigns amongst the sweetness of much harmony which made the composer and the instrument admired, [which was] so long neglected and [is] at present so little known, although it previously contributed to the pleasures of many high princes and the amusement of nobility. I must say that it seems to me that this retired composer[who] had seen all periods of music, at present so elevated and so perfect, has likewise given to the guitar all its perfection.
I combine in this collection some pieces by other masters who excelled in the last century and principally [those] by the famous Mr. François Corbetta, taken from the book which he dedicated to the serene Archdukes, Albert and Isabelle, (Note 2) in which one finds in truth amongst an agreable sweetness, a majestic gravity which acquired for him the name of incomparable. Those of Mr. Lelio have their value and if I judge well, are at least of equal merit. People have made equal these two great masters, and it is only Le Cocq of Brussels who has surpassed them.
The mark which is placed at the end of each air in this collection indicates and distinguishes the composers.
LC represents Cocq
FC - François Corbetta
LO - Lelio [Colista]
PZ - Perez de Zavala
DV - Robert De Visée
ND - Nicolas Derosier
GB - Jean Bapt[ist]eGranata
I list here these remarks so that if after my death this book has the good fortune to survive and falls into the hands of an amateur, he will learn and play from my labours with pleasure and satisfaction. Meanwhile I try to profit from them [in the same] manner.
So that I may become one of the guitar players of the little lamb, exulting in God, Jesus Christ, my saviour.
(1) Castillion seems to have got muddled up here. It was Charles himself who was governor of the Low Countries, not his sister. Return to text
(2) Archduke Albert (1559-1621), nephew of Philip II of Spain appointed governor of the Netherlands, 26th April, 1595. He married the daughter of Philip II, Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) in 1599. Castillion may be mistaken in thinking that Corbetta dedicated a book of guitar tablature to them. His first book tablature "De gli scherzi armonici" (Bologna : Monti, 1639) was published after both had died. His fourth book "Varii scherzi di sonate", printed in Brussels in 1648, is dedicated to Archduke Leopold William of Austria. This may be what Castillion had in mind. Return to text
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