John Dowland’s When the poore Criple is a consummate song, a devotional hybrid without a conventional liturgical or secular home, and yet one which employs a measured madrigalian sensuality distilled from Italian prototypes. Decidedly unscriptural, this last song in a trilogy from Dowland’s ‘A Pilgrimes Solace’ completes a meditation on patience, drawn from Job and David’s respective biographical afflictions, and leading towards a cripple waiting to be cured by Christ. As with the contemporaneous poems of John Donne, this song exudes dark moralising countered by a luminous core of salvation. A dark, smouldering sound slightly embedded (metaphorically) in the piano can help to secure the desired atmosphere.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Parts included:

  • Trumpet in C
  • Piano

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