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Love Bade Me Welcome
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
Though your strangeness [4:06]
My complaining is but feigning [1:33]
George Herbert (1593-1633)
Love* [1:12]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
Once did I serve a cruel heart [2:24]
Robert JOHNSON (c.1583-c.1633)
Lady Hatton’s Almain [1:35]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
Sweet Kate [1:42]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes* [1:09]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
What if I seek for love of thee?¶ [1:55]
Sir Walter RALEIGH (c.1554-1618)
In the grace of wit, of tongue, and face* [1:20]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Flow, my tears¶ [3:39]
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought* [1:13]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
Lie down, poor heart¨ [6:26]
Ben JONSON (1572-1637)
Slow, slow, fresh fount* [1:00]
Anonymous
Zouch his march [2:14]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Say love, if ever thou didst find¶ [1:46]
Lachrimæ [5:13]
Francis QUARLES (1592-1644)
Sighs* [7:48]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Me, me and none but me¨ [3:15]
Come again: sweet love¶ [3;43]
Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620)
Now winter nights enlarge* [1:18]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
And is it night?¨ [5:30]
Grief of my best love’s absenting¶ [4:49]
William SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
So am I as the rich whose blessed key* [1:11]
Robert JOHNSON (?) (c.1583-33)
The Second Witches Dance [1:51]
Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620)
Follow thy fair sun* [1:13]
Robert JONES (fl.1597-1615)
Hark! Wot ye what? [4:19]
Abraham COWLEY (1618-1667)
The given heart* [1:23]
Theatre of Early Music: James Bowman (counter-tenor, solo on tracks marked ¶), Daniel Taylor (counter-tenor, solo on tracks marked ¨), Frances Kelly (harp), Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Mark Levy (gamba).
* Ralph Fiennes (recitation)
Recorded St. Silas church, London, February-March 2004
BIS CD-1446 [75:51]

 



This CD has a programme of songs, instrumental pieces and poems from the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries. The unifying thread is the theme of love, with a particular emphasis on fashionable love melancholy. The poems are read by Ralph Fiennes, in a manner which is often at odds with the elaborate rhetorical patterns of the poems. I can’t say that I much enjoyed his readings and, in any case, there are some odd choices. The long poem by Francis Quarles is undistinguished, to say the best of it, and it is very frustrating to listen to Fiennes reading the words of Campion when we might have been hearing Daniel Taylor or James Bowman sing them. This is particularly so when the booklet notes make a point of reminding us that “Campion’s cause deserves to be championed: the only true poet/musician of his age”. I suspect that I shall not be alone in making use of the programming function on my CD player on most occasions when I listen to this CD in future!

Musically speaking, Love bade me welcome is altogether more successful. The songs of Robert Jones are well represented, nine songs being recorded in all. Seven of these are taken from his book of 1609 A Musicall Dreame and two from his collection of 1600 The First Booke of Songes and Ayres. Five of the pieces from A Musicall Dreame are sung as duets, and the voices of Taylor and Bowman blend beautifully in these. The opening track, ‘Though your strangeness frets my heart’, to a text by Campion, is particularly fine; finer still would have been the chance to hear Campion’s setting too. Still, Jones’s use of imitation in the two voices, here and elsewhere, is often delightful. The two counter-tenors are clearly enjoying themselves in the vocal interplay of ‘Sweet Kate’ and only a hard-hearted listener would fail to share their pleasure. Also recorded are two of Jones’s very best solo songs, ‘’What if I seek for love of thee?’ and ‘Lie down, poor heart’. Bowman sings the first, Taylor the second, and both are excellent. Taylor in particular sustains the slow-moving ‘Lie down’ and invests it with real emotional weight.

John Dowland is represented by four songs and a lute solo. Elizabeth Kenny plays ‘Lacrimæ’ with unforced expressiveness, and the same famous melody serves, of course, for ‘Flow, my tears’, gracefully sung by James Bowman. He is also a persuasive advocate for the more upbeat side of Dowland, in ‘’Say love if ever thou didst find’. Daniel Taylor’s performance of ‘Me, me and none but me’ gives us, beautifully, the more familiar Dowland, seemingly “half in love with easeful death”.

Robert Johnson is represented by two instrumental pieces, rather than by any of his songs. Frances Kelly plays ‘Lady Hatton’s Almain’ very sensitively and is joined by Elizabeth Kenny for a lively performance of ‘The Second Witches Dance’. Neither piece, incidentally, is duplicated on the Virgin Classics CD devoted to Robert Johnson (VC 7 5931 2). From the same two musicians comes a vivacious performance of the anonymous ‘Zouch his march’.

Overall, this is an interesting miscellany, particularly valuable for its representation of the work of Robert Jones, though it is not without missed opportunities and frustrations. Those who like the readings by Ralph Fiennes more than I do will doubtless value it even more highly.

Glyn Pursglove

 

 

 



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