Sunday, 9 December 2007

24. John Dowland - Lute Songs (1597- 1612)


Title: "Sweet Stay Awhile" - Songs And Lute Pieces by John Dowland
Performers: Charles Daniels (tenor), David Miller Miller (lute)
Year: 1997
Length: 1 hour 4 minutes


Hey nonny nonny indeed. Well this is not so much like 'Hey nonny nonny' but more like "nonny will die". The lute songs are in their great majority pretty depressing, obsessed with death and hurt. Actually this reminds me of Carlo Gesualdo who Dowland actually met.

This is not to say that this isn't beautiful music because it is. The lute never impinges on the voice playing more of a supporting role, the voice in the recording is perfect for the songs and the lute pieces are so delicate they seem like they might vanish.

This is ghostly beautiful Elizabethan music, so if you have any interest in the period at all it is an essential recording, beautiful and dark Dowland is the Emo king of his days. Essential.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The science fiction author Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was a fan of Dowland's and his lute music is a recurring theme in Dick's fiction. Dick sometimes assumed the pen-name Jack Dowland. Dick also based the title of the novel Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said on one of Dowland's best-known compositions. In his novels, Dick envisioned a future America in which Dowland songs would be covered by a pop singer named Linda Fox (a thinly disguised proxy for Linda Ronstadt).

In the 1996 movie Sense and Sensibility, Marianne (Kate Winslet) sings "Weep you no more sad fountains" when Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman) first sees her.

Rose Tremain's 1999 novel Music and Silence is set at the court of Christian IV of Denmark some years after Dowland's departure and contains several references to the composer's music and temperament: in the opening chapter, Christian remarks that "the man was all ambition and hatred, yet his ayres were as delicate as rain".

I Saw My Lady Weep:


Anonymous said...

Can you tell something more about the way the autor of the book selected the recordings and/or works ? Many thanks in advance.

Francisco Silva said...

Well the book does not have an author, there's tens of critics writing for the book, and the choices represent the personal choices of each of those critics, what version they find most satisfying. I would imagine that they might have reached a kind of rough consensus on the works to be included and then it was up to each expert to select his favourite recording.

Anonymous said...