1567 - May 5, 1623
composed during the Renaissance period
Philip Rosseter was an English court musician who championed the cause of the simple air and denigrated fancy counterpoint; he was also a theater manager whose satirical productions got him into mild trouble with the public and the king.
From 1603 until his death twenty years later he served as a lutenist at the court of James I. His best-known work is the 1601 A Booke of Ayres, containing twenty-one of his songs with lute and viol accompaniment (the other twenty-one songs in this volume are by Thomas Campion). Rosseter indulged in the fashionable melancholy familiar from the works of his contemporary John Dowland (with whom he got into a legal tangle), but he also employed light, dancing rhythms. His music is determinedly simple, eschewing counterpoint and high expression. Compared to the works of Dowland, it is rather uneventful, but also well within the abilities of a wide swath of English singing society.
In 1609 he issued a set of lessons for mixed consort (plucked instruments, flute, and strings), but only fragments of this set have survived, mainly the flute parts. That same year, Rosseter and Robert Keysar set up a Whitefriars theater employing boy actors. When the lease on the playhouse expired in 1614 Rosseter and his partners tried to build a new one at Blackfriars, but neighborhood objections led to its demolition even before it was completed, and the company failed in 1617. ~ James Reel, Rovi