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Dowland: First Booke of Songes (1597)

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Audio CD, September 30, 1989
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 30, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: L'Oiseau-Lyre / Decca
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000E3RP
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,595 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Unquiet Thoughts
2. Who Ever Thinks Or Hope Of Love
3. My Thoughts Are Wing'd With Hopes
4. If My Complaints
5. Can She Excuse My Wrongs
6. Now, O Now, I Needs Must Part
7. Dear, If You Change
8. Burst Forth My Tears
9. Go Crystal Tears
10. Think'st Thou Then By Thy Feigning
11. Come Away, Come Sweet Love
12. Rest Awhile, You Cruel Cares
13. Sleep, Wayward Thoughts
14. All Ye, Whom Love Or Fortune
15. Wilt Thou Unkind Thus Reave Me
16. Would My Conceit
17. Come Again: Sweet Love Doth Now Invite
18. His Golden Locks
19. Awake, Sweet Love
20. Come, Heavy Sleep
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

SONGS: Unquiet Thoughts; Who Ever Thinks Or Hope Of Love; My Thoughts Are Wing'd With Hopes; If My Complaints; Can She Excuse My Wrongs; Now, O Now, I Needs Must Part; Dear, If You Change; Burst Forth My Tears; Go Crystal Tears; Think'st Thou Then By Thy Feigning; Come Away, Come Sweet Love; Rest Awhile, You Cruel Cares; Sleep, Wayward Thoughts; All Ye, Whom Love Or Fortune; Wilt Thou Unkind Thus Reave Me; Would My Conceit; Come Again: Sweet Love Doth Now Invite; His Golden Locks; Awake, Sweet Love; Come, Heavy Sleep; and, Away With These Self-loving Lads. (C) 1989 by The Decca Record Company, Ltd, London, catalogue number D 121065. Stereo.

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By Luc REYNAERT on August 11, 2014
The songs of John Dowland are sparkling highlights, not only of Renaissance music, but of Western music in general. His ‘First Booke of Songes’ contains some particularly bright gems.

The texts
With a few exceptions (18, 20), the songs in this book are about Love, and, its poetic counterpart, Death.
Love has no external laws in ‘21 – Away with these self-loving lads’: ‘What fools are they that have not known that Love likes no laws but his own?’
In ‘6 – Now, O now, I needs must part’: ‘Dear, if I do not return, Love and I shall die together’.
In ‘4 – If my complaints could passions move’: ‘O Love, I live and die in thee’.
The Love/Death opposition is very poetically expressed in ’14 – All ye, whom Love or Fortune hath betrayed, lend ears and tears to me, most hapless man, that sings my sorrows like the dying swan’, and in ’12 – Rest awhile, you cruel cares’: ‘if I fail ever to honour thee, let this heavenly light I see, be as dark as hell to me.’
But, in ’15’ love survives death: ‘life shall die, death shall live still to love thee.’

The songs have two other themes: time (age) and sleep. In ’18 – His golden locks’: ‘O time too swift’ and in ’20 – ‘Come heavy Sleep, the image of true Death’.

The music
The songs of John Dowland shine by the purity of their melodies, like ‘2 – Who ever thinks or hopes of love’ (with slow imitations), or ‘3 - My thoughts are wing’d with hopes’ with a counterpoint between voice and lute.
But, the outstanding highlights are ’13 – Sleep, wayward thoughts’ and ’17 – Come again: sweet love doth now invite’. They are among the most appealing melodies ever written.
The interpretation by the Consort of Musicke directed by Anthony Rooley is simply splendid.

A must have for all lovers of all kind of music.
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