Dowland: Dowland’s Lute Music Vol. 2:’Lachrimae Pavan’; ‘Sir Henry Umpton’s Funeral’; ‘Sir John Langton’s Pavan’; ‘Piper’s Pavan; Dowland’s Adieu’; ‘Lachrimae’ (alternative version); ‘Semper Dowland Semper Dolens’; Two Pavans, P 16 & 18; Dowland’s Tears

COMPOSERS: Dowland
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Dowland Lute Music
WORKS: Dowland’s Lute Music Vol. 2:‘Lachrimae Pavan’; ‘Sir Henry Umpton’s Funeral’; ‘Sir John Langton’s Pavan’; ‘Piper’s Pavan; Dowland’s Adieu’; ‘Lachrimae’ (alternative version); ‘Semper Dowland Semper Dolens’; Two Pavans, P 16 & 18; Dowland’s Tears
PERFORMER: Nigel North (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557862
It’s lucky for Nigel North that, thanks to Sting, Dowland is suddenly on everyone’s lips (if not iPods). Luckier still though are those who may consequently have had appetites whetted and now find that a peerless cycle of the lute music is emerging – and at bargain price! Volume 1 got the project off the ground with a superbly realised sequence of Fantasies. Here, Vol. 2 squares up to Dowland at his most iconic: the ‘Lachrimae Pavan’ and ‘Semper Dowland Semper Dolens’ bookending other ‘plangencies’ such as ‘Dowland’s Tears’ and ‘Dowland’s Adieu’. It’s not all paper tissue territory however. North asks himself how Dowland might have compiled a solo lute complement to the ‘Lachrimae or Seaven Teares’ consort publication of 1604. The result on this recording is some hugely persuasive pavan and galliard pairings which challenge on the one hand North’s probing introspection, on the other his extrovert sparkle. It’s an ideal balance evident from the start where a sublimely free yet never indulgent ‘Lachrimae Pavan’ is discharged in a punchy account of its Galliard. Highlights are many, but if the disc is inevitably suffused with melancholy, there’s an inescapable inner serenity too, with North’s palette sumptuous, his voicing deft, his maturity allembracing. And his liner notes are as instructive and elegant as the spaciously-recorded playing. Roll on Vol. 3! Paul Riley

Advertisement