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DOWLAND, J.: Lute Music, Vol. 1 (North) - Fancyes, Dreams and Spirits

Composer(s):Dowland, John
Artist(s) North, Nigel, lute
Period(s) Renaissance (1400-1600)
Genre Classical Music
Category Instrumental
Catalogue 8.557586
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

The pre-eminent lutenist of his day, John Dowland was an almost exact contemporary of William Shakespeare. This first volume of his complete lute music, which comprises about one hundred solo pieces, includes the 7 Fantasies (or Fancyes), free-form, improvisatory works in which the composer gives free rein to his fertile imagination and wonderful melodic gift.


Review By Richard Pinnell,The Watchful Ear,October 2009

…the one thing that this CD reminds me of is the solo acoustic music of Derek Bailey…!

Yes I know I deserve a slap round the head for that comment, but it isn’t one I make lightly. The liner notes to the CD include the following quote from Thomas Morley, a contemporary of Dowland’s, describing the Fancye (or Fantasie) form of composition;

“The most principle and chiefest kind of music which is made without a ditty…that is when a musician taketh a point at his pleasure and wresteth and turneth it as he list…In this may more art be shown than in any other music because the composer is tied to nothing.”


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

DOWLAND, J.: Lute Music, Vol. 1 (North) – Fancyes, Dreams and Spirits 8.557586
DOWLAND, J.: Lute Music, Vol. 2 (North) – Dowland’s Tears 8.557862
DOWLAND, J.: Lute Music, Vol. 3 (North) – Pavans, Galliards and Almains 8.570449


Review By Lawson Taitte,The Dallas Morning News,September 2006

TUNEFUL FANTASIES: We've had several first-rate recordings of John Dowland's complete works for lute, and this is another one worth hearing.

Dowland, a contemporary of Shakespeare, composed music that always sings or dances, sometimes both. The initial volume in this new series concentrates on the composer's most abstract music, including all seven of his fantasias.

In the early 17th century, it was no mean trick to organize a purely instrumental piece of music, but Dowland always captures the mind and pleases the ear.


Review By Edward Ortiz,Sacramento Bee,July 2006

The brighter side of English composer and lute genius John Dowland gets its due in this excellent CD, which is the first of four volumes of lute music from Naxos. Dowland, a contemporary of Shakespeare, is typically known for works that evoke melancholy, such as his "Lachrimae." But this disc serves to dispel the notion that Dowland wrote music evoking only the darker side of the human condition.

Here we get upbeat and playful music written for the lute. It's music that's simultaneously joyful and meditative. All 22 pieces are played lovingly and effortlessly by the British lutenist Nigel North. Seven of Dowland's "Fantasies" are included in this CD, and their seemingly free-form nature shows off Dowland's creativity and facility for improvisation.



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