ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Jane Pickeringe’s Lute Book
PERFORMER: Jacob Heringman (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: AV 0002
Although no one knows who Jane Pickeringe was, Lynda Sayce’s notes are a triumph of deduction and intuitive detective work. Using handwriting, the selection and ordering of the pieces, and knowledge of the social expectations of the time, she builds a picture of a precocious young lady of taste and talent, collecting extended pieces but also, fortunately, filling up odd spaces with charming trifles, some barely half-a-minute’s worth, which would otherwise be lost to us for ever.
Heringman links these into extended sections – an effective means of avoiding the fragmentation which the playlist threatens. He’s at his best though in more expansive pieces. Pavins by Rosseter and Johnson, both lasting over six minutes, are wonderfully sustained, not least by his seemingly effortless control of tone and sense of musical direction.
Another effective set of contrasts is in tunings. The booklet notes explain the theory, but its effect is aural as well as technical, with groups of tracks displaying strikingly different levels of resonance from unstopped strings ringing in folk tunes to a severely dry pavan in a remote minor key. Though Jane Pickeringe’s collection itself is uneven, it could not be more convincingly presented. George Pratt