Where shadows do for bodies stand

Guitar and computer

John Dowland's song 'Can she excuse my wrongs?' was published in 1597 in the First Book of Songs. The text is thought to be by Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex, a court favourite of Queen Elizabeth. The song is in the form of a galliard that we find as both consort setting and as three galliards for lute solo. The divisions in these lute pieces are quite diverse and, even if the authenticity of P. 89 is put in doubt, taken together they may give an idea of Dowland’s art of extemporization. In 2003 Barrett began work on a live electronics composition for guitarist Stefan Ostersjo. This composition, 'Where shadows do for bodies stand' takes as its starting point Dowland's 'Can she excuse my wrongs?'. The atmosphere embodied in Dowland's original are re-interpreted rather than re-arranged. The electroacoustic technique provides a means of escape from modernism, connecting antique music to a new aesthetic of sound-surrealism and dually serves to expand the guitar's quiet and intimate sonority.