- Paduana Anglois, for lute (from Lautenbuch der Elisabeth von Hessen, Ms. Kassel)
- Weibernehmen ist kein Pferkekauf (from Allerhande Oden, 1642)
- Daulant Gagliarde, for lute (from Lautenbuch der Elisabeth von Hessen, Ms. Kassel)
- Sollt' ich, o Bild der Tugend nicht preisen (from Galathee, 1642)
- Pavana d'Aurick (from Le petit Boucquet de Frise Orientale, 1631)
There is a fine selection of performances of John Dowland's music by English musicians available, and it may be that few listeners outside Germany will be attracted to this recording of his music by German viol group Hamburger Ratsmusik and its leader, Simone Eckert, with tenor Jan Kobow. That would be a shame, for there is plenty to distinguish this album from other Dowland releases on the market. The program is unique: the "contemporaries" mentioned in the title are not the usual English suspects, but a group of mostly German (or Danish) instrumental composers. Some such as Michael Praetorius, are well known, but others like Dane Melchior Borchgrevinck are obscure. This makes a good deal of sense inasmuch as Dowland spent a good deal of his career outside England, with his music becoming known across much of the European continent. The case for treating Dowland as characteristically British rests partly on the strain of sheer melancholy in his music, something that was seen as associated with English aesthetics at the time. More than half the music is not by Dowland at all. The net effect of all this is to deflect attention away from the melancholy effect and toward Dowland's contrapuntal genius, an aspect of his music that has been insufficiently explored. Add in these factors: 1) Kobow offers no indication that he is anything other than a native English speaker, and he does a creditable job on such Dowland hits as "Come Again"; 2) the playing of the viol group is a good deal more expressive than you would be led to believe by the heavily footnoted booklet notes; and 3) the sound environment of the North German Radio studios in Hannover is little short of ideal. The result: a superior release that belongs in any collection of Dowland recordings or of music of the early 16th century in general.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John Dowland and his Contemporaries: Come again based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
John Dowland's music usually shows up in recordings in one of two ways; either as a release of all-Dowland compositions, or as part of a compilation of English renaissance masters. But unlike many of his colleagues, Dowland traveled extensively (if not always voluntarily) throughout Europe. In doing so, he was exposed to the courtly music of France, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden -- all of which influenced his own writing. Come Again programs Dowland's music alongside contemporary works by Samuel Scheidt, Orlando Gibbons, Michael Praetorius and others. The results are illuminating. In one grouping, for example, we hear Dowland's 1597 song "Can She Excuse My Wrongs," followed by Johann Schop's 1642 "Sollt' ich, oBild der Tugend nicht preisen," an anonymous Gagliard, and Gabriel Voigtländler's 1642 "Weibernehmen ist kein Pferdekauf" -- all sharing the same distinctive opening motif. Not only are variety of composers presented, but the texture is varied as well. Some selections are sung with ensemble, others with lute accompaniment, and the exclusively instrumental tracks don't all have the same line up of instruments. All of this combines to create an engaging and fresh-sounding listening experience. Simone Eckert and the Hamburger Ratsmusik perform on instruments of the period, and they do impeccably. Jan Kobow's clear tenor voice has a slightly soft and warm tone that's perfectly suited to Dowland's delicate compositions.