DOWLAND The Art of Melancholy

Author: 
Lindsay Kemp
CDA68007. DOWLAND The Art of Melancholy

DOWLAND The Art of Melancholy

  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, All ye whom loue or fortune hath betraide
  • (The) Third and Last Book of Songs or Aires, Behold a wonder heere
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Burst forth my teares
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Can she excuse my wrongs with vertues cloake (= The Earl of Essex Galliard)
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Come againe: sweet loue doth now enuite
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Come away, come sweet loue
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Come heauy sleepe
  • (The) Second Booke of Songs or Ayres, Flow my teares fall from your springs
  • Fortune my foe
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Go Cristall teares
  • In darknesse let mee dwell
  • (The) Second Booke of Songs or Ayres, I saw my Lady weepe
  • Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares
  • Mrs Winter's Jump
  • (The) First Book of Songs or Ayres, Now, O now I needs must part (= The Frog Galliard)
  • (The) Third and Last Book of Songs or Aires, Say loue if euer thou didst finde
  • Semper Dowland Semper Dolens
  • Shall I strive with wordes to move?
  • (The) Second Booke of Songs or Ayres, Sorrow sorrow stay, lend true repentant teares
  • (The) Third and Last Book of Songs or Aires, Time stands still

Of all the things that could have emerged from last year’s Dowland anniversary, perhaps for many the most devoutly to be wished would have been a song recital disc from the English countertenor of the moment. Well, here it is, with 16 songs gathered under the title ‘The Art of Melancholy’ – although, this being Dowland, that encompasses most of the old favourites, and as Roger Savage’s excellent booklet-note makes clear, such is the subtle variety of music and words in Dowland’s melancholy world that ‘semper dolens’ does not have to mean ‘semper in idem’.

The main strength of Iestyn Davies’s singing lies in its straightforward lyrical beauty, certainly a sound fit for Dowland’s classic melodic grace. When his songs are performed as purely musically as this, the battle is already half-won, and indeed Davies seems to see no need for over-deliberate interpretation. His diction is clear (impressively quick in ‘Can she excuse?’) but his phrases are touched by naturalness and a rejection of the kind of interpretational point-making that, for instance, has led many others to introduce a tiny hiatus after the third note of ‘Time stands still’. Instead, Davies can reach the heart of the matter through leisurely lingering in ‘Flow my tears’, an aching swell on the penultimate note of the ever-superb ‘In darkness let me dwell’, a brief burst of ornamentation or a momentary flowering of vibrato when a phrase, note or vowel demands it. Melancholy, it seems, does not have to have downright angst waiting round the corner.

Davies’s accompanist is Thomas Dunford, a lutenist still in his twenties but already making people notice him with his strongly projected resonant tone, wide range of touch and dynamic, and effortlessly attentive musicianship. His five solos are a strong plus; ‘Lachrimae’ and ‘Fortune my foe’ are both seriously slow and free. This is Dowland to treasure.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017