Monday, 5 December 2016

Dowland - Lachrimae or Seven Tears - Phantasm, Kenny

Rating: 5/5


This is just wonderful.  I love Phantasm's recordings and I think this is among their best work – which is really saying something.

The music itself is fabulous:  Dowland's seven variations on  a lovely theme which he called "Lachrimae" (of course he did!) plus arrangements of some of his finest lute pieces.  These include well-known pieces like The Earl Of Essex Galliard and Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens with a very good, varied selection of other pieces.  It's a lovely collection, very well put together.

It's the playing which makes this so special.  Phantasm are one of the world's leading viol consorts, and the excellent Elizabeth Kenny's lute blends and complements them perfectly.  The lovely phrasing and subtlety of expression is quite remarkable, and the overall sound is just lovely.  I realise that I'm gushing rather, but I mean it; I have quite a few recordings of Lachrimae including much-loved discs by The King's Noyse and Musica Antiqua Köln, but this rather effortlessly eclipses them, I think.

Linn make their usual excellent job of recording so the sound is perfectly clear but full and warm, and it's very nicely presented with good, readable notes from Laurence Dreyfuss.  This is an absolutely terrific disc all round, and very warmly recommended.

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