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I agree with the chorus of praise this disc has received. There is an awful lot of Dowland on disc now and I think this stands with the best of it.

The selection of works is varied and imaginative, with plenty of the Greatest Hits here like Flow, My Tears and Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens, but a good smattering of less familiar works, making it a fine, varied programme of the melancholy and the lively with a good leaven of instrumental pieces among the songs.

The performances are excellent. Iestyn Davies is a very fine countertenor and he brings superb technique and control to these songs. He finds all the dolens in Dowland without ever slipping into sounding like a rather turgid dirge, which can happen in such recitals. Every song is invested with its own character and meaning, and it's exemplary singing, I think. Thomas Dunford's lute playing is just as good; he is delicate and subtle both as accompanist and soloist, and the overall effect is quite excellent.

I have a lot of Dowland, but this is among the best recordings I know. The recorded sound is, as always from Hyperion, excellent and the presentation attractive. This is an excellent disc all round, and I recommend it very warmly.
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on 16 October 2014
Really wonderful work between these two sensitive and thoughtful musicians.
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on 18 June 2014
Heartbreakingly beautiful singing of some wonderful songs, with excellent lute accompaniment. Davies has now confirmed his position as the pre-eminent counter-tenor of our age.
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on 21 April 2014
I've recently had the chance to hear both Iestyn Davies and Thomas Dunford perform this set of songs with lute (and lute solos) at Wigmore Hall, and Ian Bostridge and Liz Kenny a very similar set at the Sheldonian. Both pairs were superb, of course, but Davies and Dunford had the edge in control, subtlety and emotional power. Now wonder this is #1 bestseller on cassette!
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on 15 July 2014
Blues Music - Renaissance style. Singer and accompanist are brilliantly in synch. You'll feel cathartically better after a shot of this.
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on 15 August 2014
The singing and playing are just sublime. This is the best interpretation of Dowland's beautiful songs that I have ever heard.
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on 9 November 2014
At the risk of sounding a discordant note amidst the general acclaim for this disc....

I heard Iestyn Davies's and Thomas Dunford's recital from York earlier in the year on Radio 3, and thought I'd enjoyed it. I heard the CD reviewed on BBC Radio 3, bought it alongside the new Paul O'Dette lute CD of his favourite Dowland, and Christoph Denoth's Mr Dowland's Midnight of Dowland on classical guitar. I have a large collection of Dowland's music, play some of it (on the guitar), and fell in love with it about 50 years ago.

I've now played this CD several times, and really don't like it at all. Above all because of Davies's delivery and diction. You simply can't hear the words. Well, some of them. If you don't believe me, sit down with pen and paper and try to write down everything you've just heard. You won't be able to. At best there will be a lot of gaps. Then try the same with the Dowland songs on the old Consort of Musicke discs with Anthony Rooley and co - you'll hear every word of the singers, including the counter-tenor. Do the same with Alfred Deller - likewise. I was fortunate enough to be sitting in the front row at this year's Aldeburgh Festival recital by (among others) Magid El-Bushra (counter tenor) and Ian Watt (lute), singing Dowland songs - again, every word crystal clear. The words are essential in Dowland. But too many of Davies's words disappear into a sort of vocal mush. It's just a sound, a vocal effect. This can be a side-effect of the counter-tenor voice - something happens from the throat upwards. In Handel, possibly not a problem. But the Dowland songs are also poems, you need to hear the words. They need the unforced simplicity of a Martyn Hill, an Emma Kirkby, a Glenda Simpson...Davies just doesn't cut it.

His lutenist accompanist is...OK. It does come as welcome relief from Davies's singing.
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on 6 March 2015
Excellent!
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