HATHOR CONSORT 5 viols & lute
Romina Lischka viola da gamba & artistic direction



7 Tears by J. Dowland & 6 Interludes by A. Van Parys

Lachrimae or Seaven Teares Figured in Seaven Passionate Pavans is the title of a collection of consort music that John Dowland published in 1604. The collection is special in many ways. The opening seven pavans are an abstract cycle of variations, which was something completely new at that time. Dowland created a wondrous web of thematic and harmonic reminiscences throughout the pavans. The first pavan Lachrimae Antiquae, or “old tears,” had already been in circulation as a lute solo, and Dowland later reworked the same theme in his famous lute song Flow my Tears. Marsilio Ficino, the most important Neoplatonist from Florence, described melancholy as the result of one’s longing for one’s heavenly origins. Melancholy was much more than mere earthly depression, but provided inspired access to the deepest contemplation and connection to the divine. Tears were the expression of this inspirational melancholy. A tear was, after all, not earthly, but originated in the soul itself.

Modern melancoly

Dowland’s pavans are separated by Annelies Van Parys’ Interludes, a work that was commissioned by the Hathor Consort. Van Parys uses Dowland’s music and the special sound of the gamba consort as a starting point to create a contemporary commentary on Dowland’s melancholy. The end of each variation reverberates with the beginning of something new, an expression of recognition and alienation, distortion and transformation. Van Parys’s Interludes add unexpected detours to the unworldly tension which runs throughout Dowland’s pavans: from purification to desperation.

Dance, a sixth voice

The Hathor Consort chose to add a sixth voice to this enigmatic, 5-voice melancholy in the form of the body of the dancer Femke Gyselinck. She by “Flow my Tears,” and her movements can be read as a choreographic expression of the emotions brought up by this dark poem, most likely written by Dowland himself.

“…music that drives the rhythm of the heart and lifts your spirits. The Hathor Consort interprets all this beauty with a deep warm sound, as if the mother goddess herself were spreading a bed for you.” – Klara’s 10

“…the sublime collection of Dowland Lachrimae or Seven Teares, the most perfect expression of the art of the melancholy of this English composer. A concentration sets in. With Romina Lischka, we are silent and we think.” – Le Soir