Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book
In Renaissance times‚ when much lute music was unpublished‚ many amateurs compiled their own books of pieces that came their way. One such was Jane Pickeringe‚ of whom we know nothing more than her name as signed‚ with the date 1616‚ in her book. The handwriting of the earliest 15 items is not her own but possibly that of her teacher‚ and as they were duets it is possible that they were played by Jane and her mentor. The remaining items were lute solos‚ 30 of which were in a third hand‚ following which Jane resumed her entries – we can only speculate as to the reason for the hiatus.
Of the 30 selected pieces in this recording‚ 18 are by the ubiquitous ‘Anon’ and the rest are by familiar names such as Cutting‚ Rosseter‚ Bacheler‚ John Johnson and Dowland. It is in the pieces by these latter that the most substantial music is to be found‚ notably the beautiful chromatic Fantasia (track 28) which survives in a source in which it is attributed to Rosseter. Its uncanny resemblance in many passages to Dowland’s fancy Forlorne Hope led the late Diana Poulton to claim it on his behalf‚ but the jury is still out.
Jacob Heringman’s effortlessly musical playing and beautiful tone – free from extraneous mechanical noise – is superbly recorded‚ and Lynda Sace’s annotation is deeply informative. Warmly recommended to lovers of lute music and those interested in the world of the talented (and maybe wellheeled) amateur of its time.