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Dowland: Lute Songs / Alfred Deller, Robert Spencer

Dowland / Deller / Spencer
Release Date: 07/10/2012 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 50244  
Composer:  John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred DellerRobert SpencerNigel North
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

First Book: Wilt thou unkind; Come away, come sweet love; Come again sweet love; If my complaints; Can she excuse my wrongs?; Come heavy sleep. Second Book. Flow my tears; Sorrow stay; I saw my lady weep; Shall I sue? Third Book. Weep you no more, sad fountains; Me, me and none but me; What if I never speed; Say, love, if ever thou didst find; Flow not so fast, ye fountains. Pilgrim's Solace. Lasso, vita mia; From silent night; If that a sinner's sighs; Go nightly cares. Musical Banquet. In darkness let me dwell. Consort Pieces. Fortune my foe; The Froag galliard; The Round Battle galliard; Lachrimae pavan; Can she excuse?; Katherine Darcy's galliard. Bandoura Solos. Galliard (The King of Denmark); The Lady Laeton's Lute Solos. The Read more shoemaker's wife; Can she excuse?; Mistress White's thing; Orlando sleepeth; Tarleton's resurrection; Sir John Smith's almain; Mistress White's nothing; Midnight; Mistress Winter's Jump; Melancholy galliard; My Lady Hundsdon's puffe. Lute Duets. My Lord Chamberlain's galliard; My Lord Willoughby's welcome home.

With representative works from all branches of Dowland's output except for vocal ensembles, sacred music and viol consorts, this set bids fair to challenge the L'Oiseau-Lyre 'complete works' project on 20-odd records: it gives a good, broad picture of Dowland's importance, selecting favourite songs from each of the song-books and interspersing them with splendidly performed' instrumental pieces. Each side normally begins with a couple of songs and then has some instrumental pieces before closing with a few more songs.

But perhaps the set's major importance, historically speaking, will be that it contains what 'must presumably be Alfred Deller's last comprehensive statement on Dowland: all 20 songs here are performed by him, and he has recorded many of them before. At the age of 65, and with an enormous career behind him, he is, of course, going to give performances that must be accepted on their own terms. He keeps the voice extremely soft most of the time, almost crooning into the microphone; and his voice often dies away quite unpredictably in a manner that Apparently represents a careful compromise between the way he now thinks about the songs and the need to treat his voice with care. In Sorrow stay at the end of the second side at the words "but down, down" he allows us to hear the full voice for the first time on the set: it seems a curious moment to choose, but once again it should perhaps be understood in the light of the experience of Deller's improbably long career.

If the singing is difficult to judge objectively, the lute playing of Robert Spencer is unquestionably superb: there are players with more agility and players 'purer' in their instruments and technique but none, I think, more musically attuned to Dowland's pieces. Very soon we shall have all Dowland's lute music on record and quite a lot of -it available in several different recordings: when that happens Spencer's performances here will have to be kept close at hand for purposes of comparison.

In the consort pieces, the Consort of Six play fluently and with good balance: as so often, the sound of this instrumental grouping is not caught quite clearly enough by the engineers, but the quality of the sound is in general very pleasing.

- Gramophone, (Review of the original 1978 LP release)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 2, Flow, my teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
2.
Third and Last Booke of Songes or Aires: no 15, Weep you no more, sad fountains by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
3.
A Pilgrimes Solace: no 11, Lasso vita mia, mi fa morire by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1612; England 
4.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 11, Come away, come sweet love by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1597; England 
5.
Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 3, Sorrow sorrow stay, lend true repentant teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
6.
A Pilgrimes Solace: no 13, If that a sinner sighes by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1612; England 
7.
Say love if ever thou ditst find, D 58 by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
8.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 4, If my complaints could passions move by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
9.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 17, Come againe, sweet love doth now envite by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
10.
Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 1, I saw my lady weepe by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1600; England 
11.
Orlando sleepeth, P 61 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
12.
Tarletones riserrectione, P 59 by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
13.
Sir John Smith, his Almaine, P 47 by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
14.
Mrs Whittes Nothing, P 56 by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
15.
My Lord Chamberlain his Galliard, P 37 by John Dowland
Performer:  Nigel North (Lute), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
16.
Third and Last Booke of Songes or Aires: no 8, Flow not so fast yee fountaines by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
17.
Galliard by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Bandora)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
18.
Lady Laiton's Almain, P 48 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Bandora)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
19.
Fortune my foe by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
20.
Frogg Galliard, P 23A by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
21.
Third and Last Booke of Songes or Aires: no 5, Me, me and none but me by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
22.
Third and Last Booke of Songes or Aires: no 9, What if I never speede by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
23.
Shoemaker's Wife, a Toy, P 58 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
24.
Earl of Essex, his Galliard, P 42a by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
25.
Mistris Whittes Thinge, P 50 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
26.
The Battle Galliard by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
27.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 15, Wilt thou unkind thus reave me of my hart by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
28.
Mr. Dowland's midnight by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
29.
Lachrimae Pavan, P 15 by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
30.
Queene Elizabeth, her Galliard, P 41 by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
31.
A Pilgrimes Solace: no 10, From silent night, true register of moanes by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1612; England 
32.
My Lord Willobes Wellcome Home, P 66 by John Dowland
Performer:  Nigel North (Lute), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
33.
Winters Jomps, P 55 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
34.
Mellancholy Galliard, P 25 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
35.
My Lady Hunsdons Puffe, P 54 by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
36.
Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 19, Shall I sue, shall I seeke for grace? by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
37.
In darkness let mee dwell by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1610; England 
38.
Dowland's Galliard by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
39.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 5, Can she excuse my wrongs? by John Dowland
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Countertenor), Robert Spencer (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
40.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 20, Come, heavy sleepe by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
41.
Lachrimae or Seaven Teares: Captaine Piper his Galiard by John Dowland
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Consort of Six
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1604; England 
42.
A Pilgrimes Solace: no 9, Goe, nightly cares, the enemy to rest by John Dowland
Performer:  Robert Spencer (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1612; England 

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