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Blame Not My Lute

Mcfarlane,Ronn
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Sono Luminus   Catalog #: 92105   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  TraditionalAnonymousThomas HeywoodWilliam Shakespeare,   ... 
Performer:  Ronn McFarlaneRobert Aubry DavisMartin GoldsmithEmily Townley
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is something of a concept album. It’s also a programme that has been toured and performed in concert many times and reaches fruition as a disc. It takes Elizabethan and Jacobean lute music and marries it to the poetry and theatre of the time. Sometimes a single track is given over to verse or a short scene from a play, spoken by Robert Aubry Davis; but also we hear a speech or lyric spoken above, as it were, lute accompaniment. This sometimes makes things difficult to judge artistically vis a vis Ronn McFarlane’s lute playing, but it’s a disc to be measured against a rather wider canvass than usual, a multi-disciplinary words and music presentation.
 
Most of the music is by Dowland, but there is one piece by
Read more Campion, another by Byrd and others by our old pal, Anonymous. The theatrical performances derive from Shakespeare - Henry VIII, The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona - as well as Thomas Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness. There are poems by Wyatt, with which we begin and end, Robert Herrick and Samuel Daniel. Thomas D’Urfey’s wickedly naughty The Wanton Trick is here too.
 
As an example of a theatrical presentation it works well. Whether it has longevity on disc is a moot point, because some of the extracts are very brief, and also because the lute, played behind the voice, is demonstrably there for evocative effect. Ronn McFarlane has a number of discs to his name of lute music and is indeed a fine player. There are times when he inclined to the brusque and overly metrical - one thinks of Mrs Winter’s Jump for example; the woman in question must have been quite a motoric figure if his playing is anything to go by. Nigel North, in his complete Dowland set for Naxos, is altogether more pliant and refined. This element of impatience also seems to me slightly to limit appreciation of Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home; I admire the verve but it lacks North’s sense of colour. Nor in truth does he possess the clarity of North in the ‘tremolo’ study that is A Fancy.
 
Next we have the spoken element. The method in the Wyatt ‘title track’, and others, is this. Davis speaks the first stanza, and then McFarlane joins in behind him. Note though that they were separately recorded. Apart from a tendency to pronounce the word ‘tunes’ as ‘toons’ his reading of the poem is good, but the other Wyatt setting, of My Lute Awakes is infuriatingly mannered. Elsewhere he batters Like as the Lute through constant over-emphases, and in the Campion pronounces ‘doth’ to rhyme with cloth. Is this an American thing? But the apogee for thrice named Robert Aubry Davis occurs in the Shrew scene, where he contrives to turn Hortensio into a cross between Sir Harry Lauder and Dame Margaret Rutherford (and not in a good way). Quite where he dredged up this bizarre accent beats me. It’s a shame because he can do a perfectly reasonable English accent with verve, as he does in the D’Urfey.
 
The texts are printed in full, and the booklet has been nicely designed and amusingly written (by Davis). Indeed the disc is cleverly programmed. It’s not for me, though.
 
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Bonny sweet boy, folk song by Traditional
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Blame not my lute by Anonymous
Performer:  Robert Aubry Davis (), Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
3.
Kemp's Gigue by Anonymous
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1600; England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
4.
Packington's Pound by Traditional
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
5.
A Woman Killed with Kindness, poem by Thomas Heywood
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis (), Martin Goldsmith (),
Emily Townley ()
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
6.
The Taming of the Shrew, play by William Shakespeare
Performer:  Emily Townley (), Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis (),
Martin Goldsmith ()
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
7.
When to her lute Corrina sings by Thomas Campion
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1601; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
8.
Upon Julia's Voice, poem by Robert Herrick
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis ()
Length: 0 Minutes 24 Secs. 
9.
Pavan and Galliard in F major no 1, MB 59 "Bray" by William Byrd
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
10.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, play by William Shakespeare
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis ()
Length: 0 Minutes 23 Secs. 
11.
My Lady Hunsdons Puffe, P 54 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 26 Secs. 
12.
Mellancholy Galliard, P 25 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Aubry Davis (), Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
13.
Lachrimae Pavan, P 15 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
14.
Winters Jomps, P 55 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
15.
Go from my window, P 64 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
16.
My Lord Willobes Wellcome Home, P 66 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
17.
Pipers Galliard, P 19 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Aubry Davis (), Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
18.
A Fancy, P 5 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
19.
Fortune, P 62 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), Robert Aubry Davis ()
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
20.
Queenes Galliard, P 97 by John Dowland
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Venue:  Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, VA 
Length: 1 Minutes 13 Secs. 
21.
Tarletones riserrectione, P 59 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Aubry Davis (), Ronn McFarlane (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Bonny Sweet Boy
Blame Not My Lute
Lady Hunsdon's Puffe, P. 54
Henry VIII (music: Melancholy Galliard by J. Dowland): Henry VIII: Act 3: The Queen's Apartments (music: Melancholy Galliard by J. Dowland)
Kemp's Jig
Packington's Pound
A Woman Killed With Kindness
Lachrimae, P. 15
The Taming of the Shrew: Act II: Scene 1
Mrs. Winter's Jump, P. 55
Sonnet LVII: Like As the Lute (music: Go from my window, P. 64 by J. Dowland)
When to her lute Corinna sings
My Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home, P. 66
Upon Julia's Voice
Pavana in F major, No. 1, "Bray" (arr. F. Cutting)
If Music and Sweet Poetry Agree (music: Captain Digorie Piper's Galliard, P. 19 by J. Dowland)
The Wanton Trick
The 2 Gentlemen of Verona: Act III: Scene 2
Fantasia No. 7 in D minor
Nosce Teipsum (music: Fortune my foe, P. 62 by J. Dowland): Nosce Teipsum: Objection 1 - Answer - Objection 2 - Answer (music: Fortune my foe, P. 62 by J. Dowland)
The Most Sacred Queen Elizabeth, her Galliard, P. 41
My lute awake (music: Tarleton's Resurrection, P. 59 by J. Dowland)

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