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John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
The Complete Solo Lute Music
The Most Sacred Queen Elizabeth, Her Galliard
The Right Honourable Earl of Essex, His Galliard
The Right Honourable The Lady Clifton’s Spirit
Sir John Smith, His Almain
Sir John Langton’s Pavan
The Most High and Mighty Christianus the Fourth, King of Denmark, His Galliard
The Right Honourable Ferdinando Earl of Derby, His Galliard
Sir Henry Guilforde, His Almain
The Right Honourable The Lady Rich, Her Galliard
A Fantasie
The Right Honourable The Lord Viscount Lisle, His Galliard
A Piece Without Title
The Lady Russell’s Pavan
Mr. Knight’s Galliard
A Pavan
Sir John Souch’s Galliard
Giles Hobie’s Galliard
A Galliard
Lady Hunsdon’s Puffe
A Galliard (on a galliard by Daniel Bacheler)
Galliard to Lachrimæ
Forlorn Hope Fancy
Mrs. Vaux Galliard
Mrs. Vaux Jig
A Fancy
A Galliard
The Shoemaker’s Wife
A Fancy
Mrs. Brigide Fleetwood’s Pavan alias Solus Sine Sola
Langton’s Galliard
Loth to Depart
A Fancy
A Pavan
A Galliard
Farewell (An ‘In Nomine’)
Mrs. Norrish’s Delight
A Coy Toy
Tarleton’s Riserrectione
Piper’s Pavan
Captain Digorie Piper’s Galliard
Mrs. Nichols’ Almain
Mrs. White’s Thing
Mrs. White’s Nothing
John Dowland’s Galliard
Mounsier’s Almain
Melancholy Galliard
Lord Strang’s March
Dr. Case’s Pavan
Dowland’s First Galliard
Orlando Sleepeth
A Dream
A Galliard (on Walsingham)
A Galliard
An Almain
Tarleton’s Jig
A Galliard
Dowlands Galliard
Semper Dowland Semper Dolens
Go From My Window
Solus Cum Sola
A Piece Without Title
A Fancy
My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home
What If A Day
Mrs. Clifton’s Almain
Can She Excuse
Mrs. Winter’s Jump
Round Battle Galliard
The Frog Galliard
A Fancy
Come Away
A Fantasia
An Almand
The Queene’s Galliard
Mr. Dowland’s Midnight
La Mia Barbara
Lady Laiton’s Almain
Jakob Lindberg (lute)
rec. October-December 1994, Djursholms Kapell, Sweden
Ultra Extended Playing Time: more than 4 hours of music on 1 SACD. This single layer stereo SACD can only be played back on an SACD player
BIS-SACD-1724 [4:15:44]


Experience Classicsonline

I’ve been dying to get my hands on one of these ‘Ultra Extended Playing Time’ SACD discs from BIS. They’re the equivalent of having one of those big old reel-to-reel tape recorders. Having spent half your life filling a full reel with old favourites at low speed, one could just let the thing roll on quietly all evening while dreaming of enjoying the social life you would have had, had you not spent half your life collecting all your old favourites and taping them onto one of those big reel-to-reel tape recorders. These ultra-long discs only play on SACD reproduction equipment, trading in the extra software digits used in surround-sound channels for extra playing time in conventional stereo. Sound quality is the equal of a conventional CD, the extra convenience being in not having to change discs the whole time, and in more compact storage. It’s doubtful anyone will want to sit and listen to an over four-hour recital of anything, but that’s not the point. You trade the convenience of multi-disc sets against a single disc which will only play on an SACD player, so the choice is fairly straightforward depending on your own set-up.

Jakob Lindberg’s recordings have appeared in more than one guise already from BIS, being still available in their 4 CD box BIS-CD-722/24, and also having been made into a well-filled compilation for those less interested in having absolutely everything from the one composer.

Despite the seemingly endless playing time, there is plenty of variety in the programme on this disc. Dowland’s solo lute music is extraordinarily varied and ranges from light frivolous pieces with titles such as Mrs. Winter’s Jump, Mrs. White’s Thing or even Mrs. White’s Nothing to famously profound works such as the Farewell, or Semper Dowland Semper Dolens which can express the darkest melancholy. Lindberg’s expressive range may not be the most far reaching in the universe, but the contrasts on offer are more than sufficient to make clear to what kind of piece you are listening. The playing order follows the titles given for the books and albums from which the extant editions of the music has been sourced, and reflects something of the expertise which was brought in preparing these recordings. There is of course a certain amount of crossing-over between the purely instrumental works and the often more well-known vocal songs, one example being the famous Pavan Lachrimæ which was also published as the song Flow my teares. This also applies to several of the galliards, which range from extrovert dances inspired by 16th-century ‘battle pieces’ but also the more introvert and lyrical works such as the Melancholy Galliard. In order to perform these 92 pieces, Jakob Lindberg uses three different instruments, principally playing an 8-course lute but also employing a 10-course lute and an 8-course orpharion.

Competition for complete recordings of Dowland’s lute music is not huge. Paul O’Dette’s reportedly more extrovert survey on Harmonia Mundi has received merited plaudits but I don’t have these to hand. One of the main challenges in a price-per-note standoff has to be Nigel North’s excellent, and I believe still ongoing set for Naxos. North’s sense of colour and feel for the dynamic projection of sometimes quite complicated counterpoint are comparable with that of Lindberg, and both have a nice lyrical turn of phrase in the more song-like numbers. Jakob Lindberg’s recordings are made in a pleasantly intimate space: not too dry in acoustic, but reflecting the more likely circumstances of a music-room diversion than a church recital.

This is most definitely one place where you can learn to appreciate the subtleties of Dowland’s art, as well as much about those 16th century sensibilities and humours. 13 years on it may no longer be the last word in this repertoire, but does remain highly competitive, and from where I’m sitting it is a joy and feast for the ears.

Dominy Clements


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