on 8 March 2014
Another outstanding performance from Jakob Lindberg on his reconstructed 1598 Sixtus Rauwolf lute, which I've twice heard him play live and which is one of the oldest surviving playable lutes in the world. It sounds fabulous.
There are several original compositions by composers of the day - the programme starts with Dowland's "Tremolo" Fantasia (Poulton catalogue no. 73) and includes his "Battle Galliard" (aka King of Denmark's) and pieces by Daniel Bacheler, Thomas Robinson and Robert Johnson. Lute aficionados may well have multiple versions of some of these in their collections already. But the greatest attraction of this collection is the arrangements or sets of variations ("divisions") on the popular songs of the day of the sort which every composer made, together with a number of arrangements by that important Tudor and Stuart composer Anonymous. There is a lovely set of anonymous Scottish tunes, and my favourite on the whole disc, the English tune "John Come Kiss Me Now" with its superbly executed ornamentation.
There are just two overlaps with Nigel North's CD of a few years ago on Linn, "Go From My Window" which consists entirely of ballad tunes for Renaissance lute (also a 5 star CD). Together these discs tap a great and too little known source of music of the time. Excellent sleeve notes by Lindberg.
on 15 October 2014
Swedish lutenist Jakob Lindberg playing a Sixtus Rauwolf lute has thoroughly succeeded in bringing to life 17th century English and Scottish lute music. The early 1600's was a period in which the lute thrived at court and at home thanks to the genius of composers like Dowland, Bacheler and Johnson. From the obscure to the more popular pieces - from the simple to the complex - Lindberg has done justice to both the role of the lute and the excellent music of the period. The CD is a joy to listen to.
on 15 January 2014
Elizabeth I had five lutenists in her employ and enjoyed the instrument herself, but when John Johnson died he wasn't replaced; even Dowland himself wasn't seen as having the measure of the task. It was left to James I to revive Dowland's fortunes and so after a spell in Denmark he returned at James's invitation (in what must have been some triumph) to court.
Jakob Lindberg's disc is devoted to this heyday of the English lute, those early years in the reign of James I when the developments in Elizabethan playing reached a zenith in the works of the virtuosi lutenists in the court circle.
Dowland is represented here with three works, including Sir John Langton's Pavan, a lesson in the grace and stateliness of this ancient form. Lindberg's instrument of c.1590 (one of the oldest playable lutes in existence) really does convey some of the poise and decorum which must have been so valued at the time, as well as the tinges of melancholy still carried over from the Elizabethan era.
Daniel Bacheler was clearly something of a wizard on the lute, and his sets of variations and his choice of unusual keys demonstrate Lindberg's consummate technique. Little is known about Cuthbert Hely, but his profound and sonorous Fantasia and Saraband offer an intriguing glimpse into the music of this dark and mysterious figure.
The survey continues further, extending into French music with Jacques Gaultier, who was so influential on the English composers of the period. A few Scottish tunes complete what is a masterful reflection on a golden era for the lute and lutenists.
on 24 June 2014
Amazing sound of a late Renaissance lute, played masterfully by the great Jakob Lindberg. Great music by the Elizabethan composers, reflecting the stile of the late Renaissance in England. Amazing performance by one of the great lute players of our time. Very satisfied. I recommend this cd to all early music lovers and, specially, to all lovers of solo lute music.