John Dowland: First Booke of Songes or Ayres

John Dowland: First Booke of Songes or Ayres

Grace Davidson’s pure, crisp soprano voice has made her an invaluable part of the UK’s choral scene. Here she uses it to great effect in John Dowland’s songs, accompanied by master lutenist David Miller. Dowland’s First Booke of Songes or Ayres was hugely popular in 17th-century England and beyond; no other composer had come close to his brilliance with harmony, rhythm and counterpoint—and his skill with word-setting. Davidson and Miller bring a fresh innocence to this music, the passionate “Now, Oh Now I Needs Must Part” all the more powerful for its subtle expressiveness. The resigned “Come, Heavy Sleep” is performed with stunning simplicity while “Can She Excuse My Wrongs with Virtue’s Cloak?” has a beautiful rhythmic nuance.

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