Late Night Lute
Matthew Wadsworth, lute and theorbo
Deux-Elles DXL 1175
Dowland, Rosseter, Johnson, Piccinini, Kapsberger, and Stephen Goss
I can vividly remember the first time I heard Matthew Wadsworth playing, in 1999, in the bowels of the Royal Academy of Music, during the debut of what was then a student group, all four of whom (Kati Debretzeni, Alison McGillivray, Matthew Wadsworth, and Robert Howarth) have gone on to achieve prominence in the world of music. This CD stems from an overheard comment at a late night gathering of friends, when somebody searching through CDs commented “I need lute, late night lute”. In the intervening years, the frequency of invitations to present late night lute concerts reinforced the feeling that there was indeed something of the night about lute music.
Since those early student days, I have reviewed Matthew Wadsworth many times, and consider him to be one of the finest lute/theorbo players around. He has an extraordinary ability to colour individual notes and delicately shape the musical line. Both in recital, and on this recording, he draws the listener into his sound world. His use of silence and gentle rhetoric is particularly effective.
Enclosed within traditional early 17th lute repertoire is the first recording of The Miller’s Tale by Stephen Goss, a beautifully evocative suite based on characters in one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It was specially commissioned for Wadsworth by John Williams, following a concert they did together at the Sam Wannamaker Theatre. This is an indication of the respect with which Wadsworth is held in the wider musical community. The six movements enclose character pieces on four of the Miller’s Tale characters (represented by a different musical forms of an Estampie, Chanson, Toccata, and Serenade) within a Prologue and Epilogue.
By all mean use this as a late night relaxation, but do also listen when you are more alert, to hear the outstanding sensitivity of Matthew Wadsworth’s playing.