Arts-Scène Diffusion

Quatuor A'dam


The corsairs of Elizabeth

The corsairs of Elizabeth

with François Joubert-Caillet


In the second half of the 16th century, England had a strong feeling of religious patriotism in the face of its numerous Catholic enemies, notably the Spain of Philip II. To defend their island and their faith, the English developed a fleet and an art of fighting at sea which gradually allowed them to dominate the oceans. Authorized by Elizabeth 1st to fight and plunder foreign ships all around the globe, mercenaries thus become zealous corsairs, overcome by exacerbated faith and patriotism. Sailing in particular to the Americas, these sailors represented a real haunting for Spanish vessels filled with American gold which they ruthlessly looted and destroyed.

The musical life aboard these British vessels was astonishingly rich because the gentlemen of culture who commanded them wanted to maintain a certain moral and spiritual standing within their boats: the offices were given with extraordinary verve, the sailors putting totally in the hands and in the service of their God. Accompanied by rapes in particular, they sang Psalms, Lamentations, and one can also imagine that outside these offices they sang profane tunes certainly more cheeky (but while remaining decent, decency and discipline prevailing). The best known of these soldier-musicians is naturally Captain Tobias Hume who worked in the Baltic Sea but it seems that on board the vessels of John Hawkins, Francis Drake or Walter Raleigh - probably the most illustrious English corsairs of the 16th century - the musical life was just as lively.

This program features a violist and four gentlemen of culture singers in the different moments of this marine musical life: Psalms, Tunes to drink, Madrigals from William Byrd to John Dowland, pieces for solo viola or humorous tunes from Tobias Hume, from the joy of conquest to nostalgia for the country or of deep faith with polite airs, the kaleidoscope that François Joubert Caillet and the A'dam Quartet offer here suggests a still little-known aspect of these musics of yesteryear.


A’dam Quartet
Olivier Rault tenor
Louis-Pierre Patron baritone
Ryan Veillet tenor
Julien Guilloton bass
François Joubert-Caillet viola da gamba

Frédérique Reibell, Classique mais pas has been, Juin 2022

François Joubert-Caillet et l’ensemble vocal acapella du Quatuor A’dam nous font embarquer sur un vaisseau corsaire élisabethain. C’est parti pour une excursion mouvementée au son de la musique de la renaissance anglaise avec un panaché de musiques savantes et populaires qu’on jouait sur les navires corsaires anglais à l’époque de la « Reine Vierge », qui avait confié à ces pirates le soin de la conquête des mers face à la puissance de l’Armada espagnole. (…)
Pendant presque une heure, François-Olivier Jean, Ryan Veillet, Louis-Pierre Patron et Julien Guilloton, accompagnés de François Joubert-Caillet à la viole de gambe, nous ont plongé dans le grand bain de la musique polyphonique de la renaissance anglaise avec un sens de la narration et une musicalité sans faille.

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