Tessier's travels in England and Scotland
Early Music, 39, . (doi:10.1093/em/caq108).
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This article explores the implications of a newly discovered autograph letter from the French song composer Guillaume Tessier to William Ruthven, Earl of Gowrie, leader of the ultra-Protestant faction at the Scottish court and, for a short period after August 1582, de facto head of government in Scotland. The letter, written from London in February 1583, shows Tessier's efforts to navigate patronage networks in France, England and Scotland at a dangerously volatile political moment, and indicates an interest in occult philosophy that links him to one of the most significant intellectual controversies of the period. At the same time, the new source helps to explain some unusual features of Tessier's only extant publication, the Premier livre d'airs tant François, Italien, qu'Espaignol (1582), which, although published in Paris, bore a dedication to Elizabeth I of England. It also sheds light on the cultivation of French music abroad, both among those closest to the young James VI of Scotland, and in English milieux frequented by major lute-song composers, confirming links that allowed one of Tessier's melodies to serve as model for a song in Philip Sidney's great sequence Astrophil and Stella.
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