Notes and Editorial Reviews
Jordi Savall occupies a special place among musicians--and not only early music specialists. As he has proven in a superb discography that ranges from 15th-century Spain to Bach and Handel, he shifts between various musical and cultural languages with amazing fluency and ease. To this point, the releases in Astrée's Jordi Savall Edition, of which this 1987 recording is a part, are subdivided into Gallic, British, Iberic, German, and Italian music series. This Dowland volume, part of the Musica Britannica subset, alternates tear-sodden pavans with sparkling galliards, each of the latter celebrating personalities from the Earle of Essex to the King of Denmark, along with other compositions
rooted in dance form (the tombeau and allemande).
It is in the Lachrimae and other somber works that Dowland is at his most moving and most memorable, however: The self-aware composer titled one of his pieces heard here "Semper Dowland, semper dolens" ("Always Dowland, always doleful"). Melancholy was a very popular artistic subject in the Elizabethan era, and Dowland's stately pieces, which often built on cascades of falling intervals, are expert studies in utilizing the whole range of textures available to the consort of viols--trebles, tenors, and bass--and lute. Rather than being merely a continuo, the lute doubles the various viol lines in an artful outline of the works' structure, highlighted by unique ornamentation.
Among the uniformly great Hèsperion XX players gathered here, lutenist José Miguel Moreno (one of Savall's longtime colleagues) deserves special recognition for his articulation, a model of razor-sharp precision. The sonics are deep and lush, a perfect pairing with Savall's dark sound. It's easy to contemplate going broke buying the Jordi Savall Edition, which as of this volume was up to 40 separate issues. But this Dowland disc is a rewarding investment indeed.
--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing the original release of this recording Read less
Works on This Recording
Lachrimae or Seaven Teares by John Dowland
Written: 1604; England
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