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LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Robin Blaze (countertenor), Elizabeth Kenny (lute), David Miller (theorbo, lute), Joanna Levine (bass viol), Mark Levy (lyra viol)
Thomas Campion (1567-1620) was a Renaissance man, trained in law and medicine, and highly skilled as a poet and musician. Robin Blaze and his team are in complete sympathy with Campion’s uncomplicated aesthetic (music as the servant of the text), releasing the full expressive content of these songs.


Blaze’s knowing sensitivity in the vocal lines gets stylish support from Elizabeth Kenny (lute) and her colleagues. The pleasing sense of freedom between the voice and instruments in the opening group underlines their narrative quality. Sample the opposition of courtliness and country pleasures in ‘I care not for these ladies’, the inflamed drama of ‘Fire! Fire!’, or the clever seductive gentility of ‘Mistress, since you so much desire’.


A magical rendering of ‘Move now with measured sound’ (written in 1607 for Lord Hay’s wedding masque) touches deeper emotions, as do the exquisitely dreamy ‘The cypress curtain of the night’ and the tenderly affectionate laments for Prince Henry (tracks 13 and 14). Other highlights include the interplay of Blaze’s intoxicatingly swooning phrases and the pretty lutenistic embellishments in ‘Blame not my cheeks’ and a ravishing account of ‘Never weather-beaten sail’. Atmospheric instrumental solos, in impressively focused recorded sound, complete this superb recital. Nicholas Rast