Notes and Editorial Reviews
Clear or Cloudy; In darkness let me dwell.
Flow my tears; Can she excuse; Come again; I saw my lady weep; Come away; All ye, whom Love or Fortune; The lowest trees have tops.
The Willow Song
Anne Magouët (s); David Chevallier (gtr, theorbo); Bruno Helstroffer (theorbo)
CARPE DIEM 16302 (55:27)
From the beginning, I was doubtful about this project, in which classical guitarist David Chevallier essentially rewrites Dowland. But he has done this kind of thing before, with Gesualdo in a project he calls
For many of us, Dowland needs no revisions, additions, or radical reinterpretations. Yet I find Chevalier’s disc extremely appealing, his re-harmonizations of Dowland (mainly in the accompaniments) always musical as well as intriguing, his extensions of those pieces by improvised (or perhaps previously written) musings on Dowland’s melodies valuable in themselves. And although Chevalier also adapts some of the rhythms, the result is in no way jazz: His project has little in common with Jacques Loussier’s transformation of Bach melodies into 4/4 swing.
It helps that he accompanies a singer with a lovely, full-bodied voice, a singer who is generally faithful to what Dowland wrote and yet is never shaken by the perambulations of her accompaniment. Chevallier seems to have been drawn to Dowland, as are most of us, by the lovely, lyrical, melancholy melodies. So those melodies are presented largely intact with varying levels of reharmonization beneath them. In certain cases, as in
Can she excuse,
the revised accompaniment helps to reveal and dramatize the disturbed mental state of the singer, whose lover is unfaithful, and who asserts “Better a thousand times to die/Than for to live thus still tormented.” This disc is an unexpected pleasure.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Works on This Recording
In darkness let mee dwell by John Dowland
Bruno Helstroffer (Theorbo),
David Chevallier (Theorbo),
Anne Magouët (),
David Chevallier (Guitar)
Written: 1610; England
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs.
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