Jacobean Lute Music

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COMPOSERS: Dowland; Robinson; Johnson; Bacheler; Hely; Gaultier
ALBUM TITLE: Jacobean Lute Music
WORKS: Works by Dowland, Robinson, Johnson, Bacheler, Hely & Gaultier
PERFORMER: Jakob Lindberg (lute)


The sound of Jakob Lindberg’s lute, made by Sixtus Rauwolf in the last decade of the 16th century, is unusually warm. Hold on to that warmth. In a meticulously voiced recital that moves between court, theatre and tavern, from music of great sophistication to music of extraordinary bluntness, Lindberg conjures an age that was as perilous as it was rich in musical invention.

Many of the composers here travelled widely, John Dowland and Thomas Robinson to Denmark. Jacques Gaultier was on the run from a murder charge, while Robert Johnson worked in the sometimes violent world of the theatre. The technical challenges of Dowland’s divisions (Battle Galliard) and Daniel Bacheler’s exquisite variations (La jeune fillette) are skillfully handled and sweetly turned. Lindberg’s selection of anonymous airs is of particular interest, from the bleak and spare A Scottish Tune to the seductive Draw Near to Me and Love Me. Whoever the object of this serenade was, she was clearly more refined than the heroine of Hence to me, Molly Gray – a tune so frankly sexual that it sounds closer to the music of the blues guitarist Robert Johnson than it does to the music of his Jacobean namesake.


Anna Picard