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The Beggars' Songbook: Revolt in the Spanish Netherlands, a Historical and Musical Illustration of the Pilgrims' 10-Year Sojourn in the Netherlands


Featuring Long & Away
Thursday, May 14, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
American Ancestors Research Center, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Cost: $20

In 1608 a group of English Separatists crossed the English Channel to flee religious persecution and begin a new life in the Netherlands. The aspiring young Republic, had so far more or less successfully fought off the oppressive rule of Habsburg Spain in a brutal war (1568–1648) pitching the Dutch “Beggars” (Geuzen) against the powerful Phillip II of Spain. The Pilgrims’ time in the city of Leiden coincided with a nine-year hiatus in the war, a time of relative peace and growing prosperity from 1609 to 1621. The cultural and intellectual atmosphere was one of religious tolerance. The impending end of the truce and the culture shock of living poor lives in a foreign country, however, compelled the Separatists to leave, booking passage on a leaky boat back to Plymouth, England. There they boarded an unremarkable merchant vessel bound for the New World—the Mayflower.

During this performance, you’ll hear examples from the Geuzenliedboek (“Beggars' Songbook”), a popular compilation of political songs, and Valerius’ Neder-landtsche Gedenck-clanck, a history of the war written during the truce years, which was illustrated with songs set to popular melodies from all over Europe. We will hear Dutch songs of political turmoil alongside works by Spanish composers Cabezón and Ortiz to illuminate the musical world of the Netherlands during the Pilgrims’ time there.

About Long & Away

Long & Away is a professional consort of viols founded in Boston in 2005. The name is a reference to the music of Orlando Gibbons, beloved composer of English viol consort repertoire. The consort has researched and performed original programs across New England and in New York, including concerts for the SoHIP concert series, New England Viola da Gamba Society, the Gamba Gamut at Boston Early Music Festival, and self-produced concerts. In 2012 the consort received the Silbiger Grant from the Viola da Gamba Society—New England to support performances of vocal works with viols in musically underserved communities. Long & Away has collaborated with English consort Seven Times Salt, vocal ensemble Tramontana, the renowned choir of Church of the Advent, and colleagues in the Boston and New York areas. A CD of a live concert recording of The Beggars’ Songbook will be available for sale.

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