John Dowland: Lute Songs

John Dowland: Lute Songs

by James Bowman


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John Dowland: Lute Songs

Originally recorded on a pair of LPs in 1976 and 1978, this collection of Dowland lute songs, along with works by his near contemporaries Thomas Campion (here given in the unusual "Campian" spelling), John Danyel (or Daniel), and Philip Rosseter, formed part of the second generation of countertenor recordings in the LP era. The instrument of countertenor James Bowman was durable enough to keep him active well into the next century, even as a greater variety of countertenor voices came on the scene, and this release may be regarded as a cornerstone of the library of countertenor recordings. It reflects its era in various ways. The program consists of an almost unbroken succession of songs, with just three solo lute pieces for contrast. And Bowman's voice has the rounded, Julia Child-a-couple-of-octaves-up quality favored by the early exponents of countertenor singing. This said, countertenors who have developed their own styles in the years since this recording appear to owe a great deal to this release and others like it. For sheer musicality Bowman has rarely been topped. No printed texts are provided in the booklet (which is in English only), but they're hardly needed, at least for anglophones; Bowman, unlike quite a few other countertenors, enunciates everything clearly and, although his style is on the dry, delicate side, seems to weigh the proper expression of every word he sings. Dowland's songs, which for the most part are quite intricate in their structure as compared with those by the other three composers, are intelligently shaped in their larger dimensions as well as their local syntax. The remastering has retained the clear, intimate sound of the original recording. In all this is another worthwhile reissue from the small Alto label of suburban New York City, which has unearthed many small treasures of the twentieth century's recorded legacy. The layout of the booklet is awkward, with a tracklist that begins on the back cover and continues on the previous inside page, but the sketch of Dowland's career is concise and appealing.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/02/2009
Label: Musical Concepts
UPC: 0894640001486
catalogNumber: 1048
Rank: 235483


  1. Come again, sweet love doth now invite, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
  2. Go crystal tears, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
  3. Can she excuse my wrongs, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
  4. Awake sweet love, thou art returned, for 4 voices & lute (First Book of Songs)
  5. Sorrow, stay, lend true repentant tears, for 2 voices & lute (Second Book of Songs)
  6. Shall I sue, shall I seek for grace?, for 4 voices & lute (Second Book of Songs)
  7. Fine knacks for ladies, for 4 voices & lute (Second Book of Songs)
  8. Lachrimae, pavan for lute (music by Dowland poss. arr. by W.Wigthorpe)
  9. What if I never speed?, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
  10. Me, me, and none but me, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
  11. Flow not so fast ye fountains, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
  12. When Phoebus first did Daphne love, for 4 voices & lute (Third Book of Songs)
  13. Lady if you so spite me, for voice, lute & bass viol (A Musical Banquet)
  14. Shall I strive with words to move, for 4 voices & lute (A Pilgrimes Solace)
  15. Tell me, true Love, for voice, bass viol, 4 part chorus & lute (A Pilgrimes Solace)
  16. Semper Dowland semper dolens, pavan for lute, P 9
  17. Faire If You Expect Admiring for voice, lute & bass viol
  18. I Care Not for These Ladies for voice, lute & bass viol
  19. It Fell on a Sommers Daie for voice, lute & bass viol
  20. Sypres Curten of the Night Is Spread, for voice, lute & bass viol
  21. Lady Laiton's Almain, for lute, P 48
  22. Eyes Look No More
  23. Like As the Lute Delights
  24. What Delight Can They Enjoy
  25. Captain Candishe his Galliard, P 21
  26. Sweet, Come Again
  27. Whether Men Do Laugh or Weep, for voice & lute

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