Dowland: Complete Lute Works Box set, Import
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Top Customer Reviews
I was already familiar with and a fan of Dowland's music, but I hesitated getting this set, thinking that over five hours of music for the lute and the opharion (a metal-stringed instrument similar to the lute) would be overkill. Instead, I find myself wishing Dowland had lived another lifetime to provide us with even more of his tremendously varied and always exquisite music.
Paul Odette's playing is technically impeccable and unfailingly inspired by creativity. Dowland's manuscripts leave much to the imagination and intepretative genius of the player, and Odette combines faithful rendering with sparkling and virtuoso improvised ornamentation.
What is most important, naturally, is the result: 400 year old music that sounds remarkably contemporary, fresh. This is not to say that Dowland's music is modern, but rather that the composer captures universal qualities of human emotion and aesthetic sensibility. The many moods range from spritely, happy melodies to deeply contemplative and moving meditations. The careful engineering of this recording (typical of Harmonia Mundi releases) lends the performances a crystalline realism that fills the room with shimmering resonance.
This is music to gladden and soothe the soul in these complex and highly technological times, a gift from the past that will thrill and enlighten generations to come.
My life is a better and richer one because I own these recordings and THAT is not an exaggeration. These lute works should be heard by every person at least once in their lifetime - they are that vital. In my opinion, they are as important as Bach's Cello Suites, although if I had to choose between these and the Cello Suites, I would choose the Dowland without hesitation.
Dim the lights, enjoy your favorite wine and become lost in a world that is richer and deeper than all of the money in the world could possibly buy. Thank you Mr. O'Dette for your incredible gift for our ears.
Paul O'Dette is a leading Elizabethan music scholar. Faced with the task of creating his own editions for many of these works and selecting the proper edition for others, he has succeeded in using editions that are historically accurate and musically pleasing.
The same goes for his playing. Every phrase is exquisitely shaped, and fits perfectly into each piece. Dynamics, tone production, intonation, and phrasing are impeccable. All in all, O'Dette's playing is both authentic and, at the same time, vital.
I have been learning some of these pieces on classical guitar, and I learn something new about each of them every time I listen.
At present there seem to be four ways to get the (nominally) complete lute solos of John Dowland on CD:
• As part of the complete Collected Works by The Consort of Musicke et al.
• By Jakob Lindberg.
• By Paul O'Dette.
• By Nigel North.
But unfortunately, Dowland left no definitive editions of his own lute works, as he did for the songs; so that many parts of his legacy are scattered around the world in museums, or private collections. Some are unattributed, or attributed wrongly. Some copies were described by Dowland himself as "false and unperfect"¹.
The definitive guide at the time of its publication in 1974 was Diana Poulton & Basil Lam's The Collected Lute Music of John Dowland, revised in 1978. This contains 103 pieces (with some alternative versions).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is so disappointing. Paul O'Dette's musicianship is quite high here, but his artistry has been undermined by a very poor recording engineer. Read morePublished on March 25, 2012 by Bob Wood
O'Dette does an excellent job of playing Dowland, and a few other composers to fill up the last volume. The recording is also excellent. Read morePublished on April 5, 2008 by David Jacobson
If you are a fan of the music of John Dowland, you must own this CD. The playing is outstanding to say the least.Published on March 31, 2007 by Richard C. Provost
It's great that O'Dette gives us the complete solo works, of course. I have the common reaction to O'Dette: his technique is flawless, his performance unengaging. Read morePublished on August 21, 2006 by James Abraham
Considering the extreme paucity of (especially solo) lute recordings currently available worldwide,
but especially in the US, this set becomes an essential "must have" for all... Read more
I bought Volume 1 of this set a couple of years ago. It has become one of my favorite CDs, so I thought I would enjoy the full set. I have not been disappointed. Read morePublished on October 22, 2005 by Lindsay Ball