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Biography

Philip Rosseter (1567/1568 – May 5, 1623) was an English composer and musician, as well as a theatrical manager. From 1603 until his death in 1623 he was lutenist for James I of England. Rosseter is best known for A Book of Aires which was written with Thomas Campion. Some literary critics have held that Campion wrote the poems for Rosseter's songs; however this seems not to be the case. It is likely that Campion was the author to the book's preface, which criticized excessive madrigalisms and complex counterpoint. The two men had a close professional and personal relationship; when Campion died in 1620, he named Rosseter his sole heir.

Rosseter's lute songs are generally short, homophonic, with a minimum of repetition, and sparing in text expression, while at the same time being rich in musical invention. Rosseter's next book was Lessons for Consort (1609) for a broken consort of bandora, cittern, lute, flute, and treble and bass viol, which contained arrangements of his own and others' music.

Rosseter also had a somewhat checkered and generally unsuccessful career in the Jacobean theatre. In 1609 he and Robert Keysar took over a company of boy actors, the Children of the Chapel. Rosseter was able, through his Court connections, to get the company's royal partonage restored, so that they again became the Children of the Queen's Revels (a distinction they'd earlier lost). The company endured for a few years; but their lease on the Whitefriars Theatre expired at the end of 1614. Rosseter attempted (1615-17) to establish a new theatre for the company at Porter's Hall, near the Blackfriars Theatre; but the venture failed due to local opposition. The company was disbanded in 1617.

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