Dowland: Honey from the Hive: Songs for his Elizabethan Patrons

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COMPOSERS: Dowland
LABELS: BIS SACD
ALBUM TITLE: Dowland
WORKS: Honey from the Hive: Songs for his Elizabethan Patrons
PERFORMER: Emma Kirkby (soprano), Anthony Rooley (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: 1475
This selection includes some of Dowland’s most haunting songs along with more bucolic, pastoral numbers. Emma Kirkby and Anthony Rooley have researched, shared and performed his work together for nearly four decades and these affectionate, thoughtful performances suggest it remains an enduring passion.

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The intimacy of the lute song suits Kirkby’s musical personality perfectly, giving her the freedom to embellish the melodic line and colour the text with subtle nuances. Her voice, unforced and effortlessly lithe, floats as if ethereally in the resonant silence of Länna Church, Sweden, the full acoustic of which is captured here in ‘surround sound’. Yet for all their vocal candour, these interpretations are enriched with a maturity of expression and a sense of melancholy apt for a composer who referred to himself as ‘always doleful’. Anthony Rooley proves a sensitive and discrete accompanist and, though the playing is not quite flawless, in ensemble, intonation and above all in their mutual musical vision, these two artists are as one. Kate Bolton