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Thread: Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

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    Registered User Richard Carver's Avatar
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    Default Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

    Here are two tunes that are thematically linked, even though they are very different from each other. The link is that each tune celebrates a great comic actor who worked with Shakespeare.

    Kemp's Jig has been occasionally (and unpersuasively) attributed to Dowland. It was first recorded in Playford's Dancing Master, but seems to have been contemporary to Kemp, who was Tarleton's successor as a great comic and performer in Shakespeare. This is not, in fact, a jig in the musical sense, but is in 4/4 time. It is usually said to refer to Kemp's sponsored dance from London to Norwich (a sort of Elizabethan GoFundMe, with the beneficiary one W. Kemp), which he undertook after a fairly acrimonious departure from Shakespeare's company. But a jig was also a comic turn on the Tudor stage, a mix of music, jokes and impressions. I wonder if the tune title refers to this.

    Richard Tarleton was the greatest comic actor of his age and is said to have been the model for Shakespeare's Yorick in Hamlet ("a fellow of infinite jest"). The graveyard scene is a memento mori - even the jolly Yorick must die in the end - and Dowland's memorial for Tarleton is in the same vein. Written early in the composer's career, Tarleton's Resurrection was described by Diana Poulton as "one of Dowland's small-scale masterpieces."


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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

    Very fine playing. What instruments did you use?

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    Registered User Richard Carver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

    Thank you, Joe. The mandolin is a round hole flat top by Howard Morris. The guitar is by Josť Ramirez of Madrid.

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    Default Re: Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

    I am always impressed with the scholarship and historical information people include in the Cafe posts. Great playing with an appropriate light touch and dance-like rhythm: Thank you Richard.
    Jim

    Dr James S Imhoff
    Boston University
    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

    1912 Gibson K4 Mandocello; Thomann Mandocello; Stiver F5; American? Bowlback; Martin 00016; Dusepo Cittern/liuto cantabile

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    Registered User Richard Carver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shakespeare's Clowns - Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Resurrection

    And thank you, Jim. Sorry for the slow reply. I'm a retired academic, so the need to constantly explain and annotate has probably been transferred to Cafe posts. Plus, I am never going to be a great musician (despite your generous compliment) so it's nice to add something distinctive.

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