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About John Jenkins

Jenkins was an English composer of music for viol consort. He was born in Kent, the son of a carpenter, and spent most of his life as a "house musician" traveling between the various estates of influential patrons. His position was possible due to the intense cultivation of music in private circles in England at that time, and the great demand for just the sort of chamber music at which Jenkins was most skilled. Jenkins was also a player of lute and viols, including a skilled performer on the strange lyra viol. After the post-revolution re-establishment of the monarchy, Jenkins finally obtained a court appointment late in his life. By this time, the musical world had irrevocably changed, and though he tried to adjust -- by learning the violin and composing fantasia-suites which incorporated the latest dance forms -- Jenkins' most influential music dates from earlier in his life, when the older forms of fantasia, pavan, and "In Nomine" were still widely practiced. Today, Jenkins is seen as a provincial musician without great influence; however, his consort music presents us with a large body of high-quality compositions that are quickly gaining an audience with the resurgence of viol performance. ~ Todd McComb

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