Time Stands Still: The golden age of English song

What: Time Stands Still: English Lute Songs

Performers: Reginald L. Mobley, countertenor
Stephen Stubbs, lutenist

When/Where: Saturday, November 14th, 2020 – 7 pm
Virtual release via our website:

Saturday, Nov. 14th, 2020 – 6:30 PM
Meet the artists social
Join via Zoom Meeting (Complimentary)

Admission: $40, discounts available for students, groups, and package purchases

General Contact:(904) 404-2912

Welcome note from Founding Artistic Director and Lutenist Stephen Stubbs

Dear Friends of Pacific MusicWorks,
I feel a very personal connection to the concert we have created here. Thanks to my high school madrigal choir I first heard and sang the sublime music of John Dowland. Discovering that he was a lutenist first kindled my desire to play that instrument. A few years later I was able to begin learning the lute thanks to the generosity of Eva Heinetz who loaned me a lute to play. Playing the lute songs of Dowland is a particular pleasure for the modern lutenist: since the lute music is written in tablature (a graphic notation that shows you exactly where to put your fingers) one has the experience of playing exactly what the composer did more than 400 years ago. Of course, the lute is only one half of the equation of the lute-song, the other being the singer. It is rare to find a singer with all of the talent and finesse needed to take full advantage of singing to the delicate accompaniment of the lute – as soon as I met and began to work with Reggie I realized that he was perfect for this repertoire.

Both the lute and the counter-tenor voice had to be rediscovered – reinvented! – in the 20th century. The extremely rich repertoire of English lute song beckoned to modern performers but required a very different approach than voices trained to sing Puccini. The early music revival beginning in the mid-twentieth century could draw on existing lutes in museums and instruction books from the past – but what should be the model for the modern countertenor? English cathedral choirs had kept alive a practice of singing in falsetto to replace or complement boys’ voices, while some (particularly American) countertenors modeled their technique on operatic mezzo-sopranos like Marylin Horne. Meanwhile, Reginald Mobley developed his countertenor voice in the unique atmosphere of the barbershop quartet – with its emphasis on exquisite tuning and blend. It turns out that this was the perfect preparation with which to unlock the magic of the lute song.

The lute songs of John Dowland are to English music as Shakespeare’s sonnets are to English literature – a perfectly distilled art form. Hearing Reggie sing them, as well as the Shakespeare songs and the Purcell was an experience for me when literally: Time Stands Still.

-Stephen Stubbs

Reginald L. Mobley and Stephen Stubbs present a preview of Pacific MusicWorks’ Nov. 14th concert – Time Stands Still.

Enjoy their performance of Full Fathom Five (Robert Johnson, composer; Shakespeare, The Tempest, text)

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