John Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears
Phantasm, Elizabeth Kenny, lute
Linn Records CKD527. 57’00
What a gorgeous CD! As well as Dowland’s famed seven ‘tears’ (lasting around 26’) we also have a balancing succession of dances, many based on Dowland songs. The pieces in the 1604 Lachrimae publication were used by generations of other composers’ in their own versions and variations. Key to viol consort music like this is the balance between the instruments. Unlike some of their concerts, where the treble viol can dominate, here the balance is perfect, not just between the five viols, but also with the delicate tone of the lute, played with superb conviction and musicality by Elizabeth Kenny.
Many of the pieces flow one to the other, without lengthy silences between tracks. I rather like this. It can encourage lazy listening, letting the music flow over you rather than concentrating on every piece as a single entity, but there is nothing wrong in that. In fact, that is the easiest way to let the music touch the emotions in the way that it was clearly intended to do.
Further details, and a link to the full programme notes can be found here.