A good recording
This is a good disc of 16th-Century lute music. There is some real interest here and it's very good to have this music available, but I'm not sure that this will end up among my favourite lute recordings.
Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo, by the way) was a considerable lutenist, composer and theorist in 16th-Century Italy. Part of his purpose in writing this collection was to champion equal temperament on the lute, almost a century and a half before Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. This aspect alone lends the music interest, and creates some fine changes of mood as well as some very enjoyable music. To me, though it lacks some of the real depth and beauty of, say, Dowland, Bacheler or Gaultier and while I like it and am glad to have it in my collection, it doesn't move me as some of my other lute recordings do.
The playing is generally very good. Zak Ozmo is a very fine lutenist; this is extremely technically challenging in places and his technique is usually up to making it sound smooth and natural, but not quite always. To my ears, there's a slight sense of strain occasionally and a little clunkiness from time to time – although to be fair this may be a matter of Ozmo's choice of emphasis and phrasing rather than any limitation of technique. Nonetheless, I don't find it quite as fluid as it might be in places.
Despite my slight reservations, this remains a good disc of worthwhile music which is well played and recorded. The notes are informative and readable and, as always, Hyperion present it beautifully and I can recommend this recording.