Dowland, Luzzaschi, etc

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COMPOSERS: Dowland,etc,Luzzaschi
LABELS: Bridge
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Early Music Recital
WORKS: Works by Dowland, Luzzaschi,
PERFORMER: Jan DeGaetani (m-sop), Paul O’Dette (lute), Judith Davidoff (viola da gamba)
CATALOGUE NO: 9087
So celebrated was the American singer Jan DeGaetani (who died in 1989) as an exponent of the contemporary repertoire – her career included premieres of important works by Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Maxwell Davies and others – that it is easy to overlook her versatility. In fact she made her contribution to the first phase of the early music revival too, and this CD offers a live 1977 recital of items beginning in the medieval period and continuing through to an endpoint somewhere in the first decades of the 17th century.

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It was a small, neat voice, deployed with a range of musicianly skills and well-suited in scale and timbre to an early repertoire, even if an occasional and discrete use of portamento might be frowned upon today. Highlights include her beautifully veiled tone in Dowland’s ‘Sorrow, stay’, the long floated lines of ‘Amors, amors’ by the 15th-century Franco-Burgundian Hayne van Ghizeghem, and her sheer virtuosic command of ‘Sovran’ uccello’ by the 14th-century Florentine Donato da Cascia. Elsewhere a lack of colour in the tone and mixed attention to words prove limiting. Notable instrumental contributions from lutenist Paul O’Dette and gamba player Judith Davidoff; rather edgy sound. George Hall