These twenty or so pieces from Elizabeth's favourite lutenist provide a vivid window into the life and leisure of a bygone age. An age of elegant, courtly dances and witty songs that Johnson used as the source materials for his masterly compositions. His mastery enabled him to assimilate the contrapuntal influences from renaissance Italy and synthesize them with a native English tradition which, being lost to us now, must remain a tantalising surmisal. Copies of these works have been found scattered in collections all over Europe, probably spread abroad by the itinerant bands of English theatrical players who were so greatly in demand in those days. Many of these pieces take the form of divisions, that is compositions for two players, one of whom provides a ground, a repeating pattern or theme, over which the other provides ever more dazzlingly elaborate melodic variations. Generally, I don't really do background music, but it must be said that this is highly decorous music, that generates a delicate but lively atmosphere. On the other hand, there is no end of surprising detail with which the attentive listener will be rewarded.