Dowland: Complete Works for Lute, Vol. 3; Complete Works for Lute, Vol. 4

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dowland
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Complete Works for Lute, Vol. 3; Complete Works for Lute, Vol. 4
PERFORMER: Paul O’Dette (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907162/907163
These final two instalments of Paul O’Dette’s complete Dowland series more than live up to the promise of the earlier volumes. Each disc offers a thoughtfully planned selection of pieces, with the fourth volume containing some of Dowland’s best known works – The Frogg Galliard, La mia Barbara, The Shomakers Wife, a Toy, the plaintive Lachrimae, and several lute versions of his songs. Here we have many of Dowland’s late works – often reflective, dolorous pieces, exploiting the dark colours of the nine-course lute for which they were written. O’Dette is equally at home with these introspective works as he is with Dowland’s more exuberant dances, where his playing really takes wing. His technique is faultless; but – more importantly – he really seems to be continuing the improvisatory tradition of Dowland’s age, not only by providing his own divisions where they are missing in the source, but also in the freedom and spirit of his playing. All this, together with the fine sound and excellent notes, make these Dowland discs some of the most attractive available. Kate Bolton

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