Songs From The Labyrinthby Sting
More than two decades into his solo career, Sting's musical explorations have already taken him farther afield than fans of his early work with the Police could have predicted. Even so, his latest venture comes as a surprise, and ultimately quite a pleasant one. On Songs from the Labyrinth, Sting reaches back across the centuries to interpret songs by John Dowland (1563-1626), one of the greatest composers of Elizabethan England. Dowland created some of the most potent melancholy in all of musical history; the deep emotions and dark beauty of songs like "Flow, My Tears" or "Come, Heavy Sleep" communicate themselves very clearly to a contemporary audience, and there's no cause to wonder at Sting's attraction to them. Part of this album's appeal is its simplicity: Sting's vocals are joined only by the exquisite lute playing of Edin Karamazov -- who also solos on some of Dowland's meditative lute pieces -- and are interspersed among some very brief spoken interludes from the composer's letters. Sting doesn't pretend to be a classical singer, but the eloquent melodies are intact, despite a gravelly grain and an occasional strain in his voice -- something that actually turns out to be ideally expressive when he sings a line like "Oh let me living die, till death do come," in the devastating closing song, "In Darkness Let Me Dwell." The only moments that feel really indebted to pop are Sting's multi-tracked vocal harmonies on "Fine Knacks for Ladies" and a few other songs that momentarily bring the Beach Boys to mind. Yet as the album progresses, you appreciate more and more how much Sting's pop talents and his very personal approach allow him to penetrate and animate the inner emotions and meanings of Dowland's timeless music.
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
- Walsingham, song arranged for lute, P 67
- Can she excuse my wrongs, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
- "Right honorable: as I have bin most bounde unto your honor..." (Letter
- Flow, my tears, fall from your springs, for 2 voices & lute (Second Boo
- Have You Seen but a White Lily Grow? for voice & lute
- "...Then in time passing Mr. Johnson died..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cec
- The King of Denmark, his Galliard, for lute, P 40
- The lowest trees have tops, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
- "...And accordinge as I desired ther cam a letter to me out of Germany.
- Fine knacks for ladies, for 4 voices & lute (Second Book of Songs)
- "...From thenc I went to the Landgrave of Hessen..." (Letter to Sir Rob
- Come, heavy sleep, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
- Forlorn Hope, fantasie for lute, P 2
- "...And from thence I had great desire to see Italy..." (Letter to Sir
- Come again, sweet love doth now invite, for 4 voices & lute (First Book
- Wilt thou unkind thus reave me of my heart, for 4 voices & lute (First
- "...After my departure I caled to mynde our conference..." (Letter to S
- Weep you no more, sad fountains, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Son
- My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home, for lute, P 66
- Clear or cloudy sweet as Aprill showring, for 4 voices & lute (Second B
- "...men say that the Kinge of Spain is making great preparation..." (Le
- In darkness let me dwell, for voice, lute & bass viol (A Musicall Banqu
Performance CreditsSting Primary Artist,Vocals,Narrator,Archlute
Edin Karamazov Lute,Archlute,Track Performer
Technical CreditsJohn Dowland Composer,Text
Sting Producer,Audio Production
Donal Hodgson Engineer
Fred Munzmaier Art Direction
Edin Karamazov Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Kathryn Schenker Management
Kipper Eldridge Sound Design
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The lute playing is fabulous, but the vocals are weak.
This is so different for Sting but quite nice indeed. These songs are very soothing as is Sting's voice always. The style reminds me of my college days of singing in a Madrigal group. It is a shame the Lute is not played more often. Thanks to Sting!
This is a gutsy, brilliant recording. Sting has taken us back in time to a period where music, poetry and magical instruments existed. This is a very daring project because our society, particularly our musical society, is not evolved enough to appreciate the beauty of this music from an era people today don't even think of, including the instruments, i.e. Lute and Archlute. This is a beautiful, intriguing, cd which awakens the senses and mind. Read the cd leaflet. Fascinating. Bravo to Sting!
Sting does a fair job on a few of the items but for the most part it's a sloppy bit of singing. His voice simply does not suit most of the music. If he had lessons before doing this he had a lousy teacher as this is not a professional performance. It is a shade less than amateur. I don't believe that this album should have been released.
The music was was wonderful. But I felt that I heard more applause than music. Not really worth the price. I already know sting is wonderful. I don't need to hear clapping to be convinced.
I believe this work is something Sting and anyone else involved are trying to forget. The music is OK but Sting voice is just terrible, as a result you just can't stand any song!
Anyone who knocks this, doesn't know music from the Elizabethan Era. These compositions are 400 years old and not meant to be spewed like most of today's rot. Too bad it's live, but otherwise, Sting's unusual voice lends itself this style, and the lute was phenomenal. This recording really shows Sting as an educated artist who is finally comfortable in his own skin. Do your homework THEN enjoy this wondrous work!
strongly recommend, nice musciality, unique material