About the Night Watch

Why ‘The Night Watch’?

Anthony Holborne (fl.1584-d.1602) was an English renaissance composer for lute, cittern, bandora, and consort. His piece, The Night Watch, refers to one of the duties of the city waits. The waits were bands of musicians who kept night watch on the city gate, and also played music on official occasions, welcomed royal visitors by playing at the town gates, led the mayor's procession on civic occasions, and awoke townsfolk on winter mornings by playing under their windows.

Anthony Holborne arranged The Night Watch several times for different instruments: for cittern and bass viol; for bandora; for consort; and for the lute. This constant rearranging of music was typical of the renaissance spirit, a creative spirit of innovation and reinvention which The Night Watch heartily embrace in their own arrangements, performances and workshops.