Once John Dowland’s First Book of Songes was first published in 1597, English music was never quite the same again. Dowland established a whole new sense of style and content, bringing light, life, sensitivity, and magic into English composition. His immense talent was recognized immediately by his contemporaries, and around Dowland flourished an impressive circle of musicians and composers. Among his contemporaries and friends were the most important figures in music of the Elizabethan Age – Thomas Weelkes, Thomas Morley, and Thomas Tomkins, to name a few – and he would be a great influence upon the next generation of English composers which includes Matthew Locke, John Blow, and Orlando Gibbons. His legacy is as one of the major figures of English music, as his works continue to be widely performed and quoted to this day.
John Dowland & Friends: Lute Songs is a collection of eighteen songs of Dowland’s age, eleven of which are by Dowland and the others are works by Thomas Morley, Thomas Tomkins, Claudin de Sermisy, Thomas Weelkes, and Matthew Locke, all performed magnificently by the Consort of Musicke. Founded in England in 1969 by lutenist Anthony Rooley (the director of the ensemble as well as a performer), the Consort of Musicke is a highly regarded early music group that has featured some of the finest voices in Britain, and this particular iteration of the group features Evelyn Tubb, Lucy Ballard, Andrew King, and Simon Grant, in addition to Anthony Rooley playing the lute. This 1988 digital recording has been out of print for many years, and is now available from Alto at a price sure to please. Please click on the cover image above to visit the product page for this album for a complete track listing and links to find this album on iTunes and Amazon.com.