Nocturnal, by Benjamin Britten (After Dowland)

This is one of my favorite pieces for guitar. I discovered this when I was a teenager, and it’s one of the pieces of music that opened my mind to modern music. I still have the score that I bought about 35 years ago.

It’s played here by Paul Galbraith, on his very strange 8-string guitar. I think he’s the only person who plays a guitar like this. I have to admit, having just bought a classical guitar to get back into playing after a long hiatus, I can see the interest in playing in this position. I played viola da gamba for a while, and this is the exact same position (as is the cello). The guitar has always seemed to me to be a great instrument that just isn’t designed ergonomically. If I could afford a guitar like this…

8 thoughts on “Nocturnal, by Benjamin Britten (After Dowland)

  1. Thanks for posting this–I didn’t know this piece. Britten’s “Lachrymae” (viola and piano) is also Dowland-based and is a piece I like a lot–unlike the typical theme-and-variations, it doesn’t state the theme at the beginning but gradually eases into it at the end.

  2. Thanks for posting this–I didn’t know this piece. Britten’s “Lachrymae” (viola and piano) is also Dowland-based and is a piece I like a lot–unlike the typical theme-and-variations, it doesn’t state the theme at the beginning but gradually eases into it at the end.

  3. I’m a longtime follower, both here and on Twitter. Your literary and musical tastes seem to coincide with mine, so I often take your recommendations for works and performances that are otherwise unfamiliar to me. This Galbraith album is one of them, which I recently downloaded from Amazon. I would be happy to throw some money in your direction when I make such a purchase at your recommendation, given how much I have enjoyed your writing over the years. A direct link from your website to Amazon would accomplish this, as you know. Not sure what the barriers to this may be.
    Best regards to Titus as well. He seems to be king of all he surveys.

    • Thanks, just find any Amazon link and click it before you click to a specific product. That enters my affiliate ID, and I get a cut of anything you buy, until you click on someone else’s link, and for (I’m not sure exactly) 30 days or so.

      And I’ll let Titus know when he gets back from his early evening hunt. 🙂

  4. I’m a longtime follower, both here and on Twitter. Your literary and musical tastes seem to coincide with mine, so I often take your recommendations for works and performances that are otherwise unfamiliar to me. This Galbraith album is one of them, which I recently downloaded from Amazon. I would be happy to throw some money in your direction when I make such a purchase at your recommendation, given how much I have enjoyed your writing over the years. A direct link from your website to Amazon would accomplish this, as you know. Not sure what the barriers to this may be.
    Best regards to Titus as well. He seems to be king of all he surveys.

    • Thanks, just find any Amazon link and click it before you click to a specific product. That enters my affiliate ID, and I get a cut of anything you buy, until you click on someone else’s link, and for (I’m not sure exactly) 30 days or so.

      And I’ll let Titus know when he gets back from his early evening hunt. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.