1739
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Spenser's Amoretti, a Collection of Twenty-five Sonnets set to Music by Dr. Greene.

Forty select Anthems in Score, composed for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Voices.

Edmund Spenser


Musical settings of Spenser's text by Maurice Greene (1696 ca. - 1755), organist at St. Paul's and the Chapel Royal. In 1740 Greene adapted the Choice of Hercules allegory, a popular subject among Spenserian writers, as a masque.

Charles Burney: "Greene was an intelligent man, a constant attendant at the opera, and an acute observer of the improvements in composition and performance, which Handel, and the Italian singers employed in his dramas, had introduced into this country. His melody is therefore more elegant, and harmony more pure, than those of his predecessors, though less nervous and original" History of Music (1776-89; 1935); 2:489.

Earl R. Wasserman: "However, unlike most other Elizabethan sonnets except Drummond's, Spenser's were known and read. About 1740, a noticeably early date for any interest in sonnets, many of the Amoretti were set to music by Maurice Greene. And Thomas Edwards, one of the first to publish original sonnets in the eighteenth century, wrote that 'The reading of Spenser's Sonnets was the first occasion of my writing that species of little poems'" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 151.

John Hollander: "The sonnets chosen, and their order, represent a sophisticated kind of anthologizing, as well as an attention to what would provide texts for generic sorts of aria" Spenser Encyclopedia (1990) 483.

Maurice Greene also produced a dramatic pastoral, "Florimel; or, Love's Revenge" (1737). See William Dodd's sonnet to Greene, 1767. Not in the ESTC (1997); I have not confirmed the appearance of the work in this volume.