The complete and budget-priced recordings of Dowland's lute music by veteran British lutenist Nigel North have been inventively programmed as well as technically solid, and this disc, the third in North's series, is highly listenable for anyone from the commuter to the serious player of stringed instruments. Here North combines sequences of lute pieces Dowland would have recognized -- the somber pavane and the sweeping galliard, Elizabeth's favorite -- with another dance that he would not have combined regularly with the pair, the quicker almain (the dance later incorporated into dance suites and finally into contradances as the allemand). It's an effective, suite-like concept that both creates a strong sequence and illuminates the traits of Dowland's writing -- the dense thinking, contrapuntal yet quasi-improvisatory -- that cross genre boundaries of his lute music. North's playing is ruminative and fantasy-like; there's room to bring out the dance rhythms in Dowland's music more than he does, especially in a situation such as the present one, where he is trying to make you hear the interaction between rhythm and technique in Dowland's music. A positive, however, is the clean recording of the lute in a suburban Toronto church favored by Naxos engineers. A useful and enjoyable Dowland disc.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
The Right Honourable Lord Viscount Lisle (Sir Robert Sidney, his galliard), for lute, P 38 (A Musical Banquet)
|Pavans (2), for lute (for J.D.Mylius' "Thesaurus gratiarum")|