> John Dowland [KM]: Classical Reviews- April 2002 MusicWeb-International

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John DOWLAND (1562 - 1626)
Flowe my Tears
Songs from the First Booke of Songs 1597
And the Second Booke of Songs 1600 [59.36]
Awake sweet love thou art returnd
Goe crystall teares
If my complaints could passions move
Come again: sweet love doth now invite
Can she excuse my wronges with virtues cloak?
Deare, if you change, Ile never chuse again
All ye whom love or fortune hath betraid
Sleep wayward thoughts.
Flow my teares fall from your springs
If fluds of teares could cleanse my follies past
Fine knacks for Ladies, cheape, choise, brave and new
I saw my Lady weepe
First part
Tymes eldest sonne, old age the heire of ease:
Second part
Then sit thee downe, & say thy Nunc dimittis:
Third part
When others singe Venite exultemus
Come ye heavie states of night
Shall I sue, shall I seeke for grace
Sorrow, sorrow, stay, lend true repentant teares.
Paul Agnew, tenor
Christopher Wilson, lute
Rec: March 1995, St Andrews Church, Toddington, Gloucestershire, England.
METRONOME MET CD 1010 [59.36]


Experience Classicsonline

Paul Agnew and Christopher Wilson have recorded several discs of lute songs for Metronome. This disc, which contains selections from John Dowland’s First and Second Bookes of Songs, is a delightful collection of some of the best known songs.

Agnew has a fine, clear voice, and sings these songs with a great deal of humility, not forcing himself on the music, but giving a very subtle, personal performance. The well-known song Flow my teares is probably the best example on this disc of his vocal style. With gentle, relaxed phrasing, he meanders through the melody rather than trying to take it over.

Yet at times he tends to add a bit too much vibrato, almost tremolo, as in Can she excuse my wronges with virtues cloak? His wavering voice is almost uncomfortable to listen to at times in this song.

Nevertheless, Agnew gives one of the most engaging performances of these songs. Together with Christopher Wilson’s brilliant lute accompaniment, this disc grows on the listener, its atmosphere being so calm and peaceful that one cannot help listening to it over and over.

This fine recording of some of John Dowland’s best lute songs is unique. Paul Agnew’s tenor voice is a welcome change from the many countertenors who have recorded these songs. If only he had not restricted himself to selections from Dowland’s works and recorded all of the songs.

Kirk McElhearn


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