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Awake Sweet Love
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Can she excuse my wrongs? [3:01]
Flow, my tears, fall from your springs [3:37]
A Fancy solo lute [2:40]
Sorrow, stay, lend true repentant tears [3:14]
The most sacred Queen Elizabeth, her Galliard solo lute [1:19]
Go nightly cares, the enemy to rest [6:59]
Now, oh now I needs must part [5:16]
Preludium solo lute [1:02]
A Fantasie solo lute [4:48]
Say, Love, if ever thou didst find [2:05]
I die whenas I do not see [1:50]
The Frog Galliard solo lute [1:55]
Awake, sweet love, thou art returned [2:39]
Tell me, true Love [4:34]
Thomas CAMPION (c.1567-1620)
Author of light, revive my dying sprite [2:52]
Oft have I sigh'd for him that hears me not [2:33] ANONYMOUS
Come tread the paths of pensive pangs [3:41]
Thomas FORD (d.1648)
Since first I saw your face [2:33]
Edward JOHNSON (fl 1572-1601)
Eliza is the fairest Queen [1:57]
John DANYEL (1564-1626)
Eyes, look no more [4:18]
Thou pretty bird, how do I see   [1:23]
Alfonso FERRABOSCO (1543-1588)
Pavin solo lute [3:05]
William HUNNIS (attributed) (d.1597)
In terrors trapp'd with thraldom thrust   [3:48]
James Bowman (counter-tenor)
David Miller (lute)
The viols of The King’s Consort
rec. February 1990
HELIOS CDH 55241 [72:22] 

 


This Helios reissue of a Hyperion favourite brings back to the fold some fine performances by Bowman and Miller with the valued assistance of the viols of The King’s Consort. This disc traces, in the main and with an excursion for solos, the lute song from the first such published in England, Dowland’s Firste Book of Songes or Ayres, to later published examples of the genre. The programme is cleverly selected, with the lute solos acting as punctuation points in the recital. There is variety of mood and texture and tempo sufficient to keep interest sustained throughout the entire length of the disc. Similarly accompanying instruments are cannily varied with Bowman shadowed either by lute, or viols or lute and viols. 

The bulk of the music, inevitably, is by Dowland and that’s as it should be. Bowman is finely attuned to the melancholy, to the gravity of the music and utilises his linguist’s ear for nuance and for colour to maximum advantage. Though his voice had, even then, begun to deepen and to widen, with an incipient hoot becoming slowly apparent, it’s still an instrument capable of considerable refinement and beauty of tone. He brings such very real qualities to bear in a setting such as Flow, my tears, fall from your springs where the texture of the voice is wholly sympathetic, and the instinct for the crest and fall of the line is superb. He does the same in Campion’s Author of light, revive my dying sprite. 

The viol consort prove deft accompanists in that long and involved setting of Go nightly cares, the enemy to rest. Refinements of colour and control of dynamics inform Now, oh now I needs must part which is a particularly telling example of Bowman’s artfulness in varying line lengths and a kind of counter-tenorial Elizabethan legato. Throughout there are great felicities of this kind, ones that are never ill-considered or precious. 

Occasionally there is a recording fault; the viol consort can cover Bowman in the balance. It happens most audibly in the anonymous setting of Come tread the paths of pensive pangs but it does happen elsewhere too. Full texts are printed. 

Jonathan Woolf  

 


 


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