By Holborne, Locke, Blow

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COMPOSERS: Blow,By Holborne,Locke
LABELS: Musica Oscura
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Scyence of Lutynge
WORKS: Works by Holborne, Locke, Blow,
PERFORMER: Anthony Rooley (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: 070971
For many years now Anthony Rooley has devoted his immense talents to the realisation of early music performance projects, and here he introduces a programme of ‘lost’ lute music by way of his own transcriptions.

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The recital includes music by several composers, the intention being to ‘reconstruct lost works for solo lute, by using surviving versions for other media’ as the starting-point for transcription. Such an approach remains true to the flexible musical priorities of the period, in an attempt to compensate for the fact that ‘an awful lot of English lute music from the 17th century has been lost forever’.

Not all the music is English, however. The exception is Michelangelo Galilei, younger brother of the famous astronomer, while the other composers are Anthony Holborne, William Lawes, Matthew Locke and John Blow.

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All the pieces are appealing, though the disc’s succession of slow tempi means that it is best sampled through individual items rather than as a full recital. The highlight is surely Lawes’s Fantasia from his Royal Consorte Sett. This is a masterly transcription of an extraordinary and complex original, which shows the deep understanding which informs Rooley’s artistry and scholarship. Terry Barfoot