The Anatomy of Melancholy

17th-century English Music

Brochures and technical specifications

The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton, published in 1623, was a great success in bookstores all during the 17th century and was translated into several languages. This monumental work, serious and outrageous at the same time, meant to delineate the world as if it were a cabinet of curiosities. Burton takes us on a great macroscopic and microscopic voyage, exploring the entire world as he plumbs the depths of the tormented soul of Baroque man, prey to very violent metaphysical tensions. From it, Faenza gives a reading... a musical one.

Me thinkes I heare, me thinks I see,
Sweete musicke, wondrous melodie,
Townes, places and Cities fine,
Here now, then there, the world is mine,
Rare Beauties, gallant Ladies thine,
What e're is lovely or devine.
All other joyes to this are folly,
None so sweet as melancholy.

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

This program explores the rich universe of Elizabethan song, picking up on certain themes evoked by Burton (the senses, witches and magicians, emotions and mental disturbances, the healing power of music, the tyranny of love, sleep, dreams, etc.) and in alternating extracts of The Anatomy with vocal and instrumental Elizabethan repertoire: Henry Lawes, Tobias Hume, Robert Jones, John Maynard, author of The XII Miracles of the World, a volume similar to the encyclopedic quality of Burton's work.

The texts, songs and instrumental music, in echo, design an ingenious route through the universe so surprising of England in the 17th century.

  • Music by Tobias Hume, Robert Jones, John Maynard and Henry Lawes
  • Texts from L’Anatomie de la Mélancolie, 1621, by Robert Burton
  • Olga Pitarch: vocals
  • Francisco Mañalich: vocals and bass viol
  • Matthieu Boutineau: virginal
  • Marco Horvat: vocals, lute, theorbo and direction


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Translations by Sally Gordon Mark

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