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Roger Savage’s excellent liner notes to this disc are a delightful read; somewhat tongue-in-cheek at times, he seems to be decidedly in favour of a reimagining of Dowland as a man and a composer of many facets beyond the one-side melancholic posturing so often attributed to him. Iestyn Davies’s renderings of the songs illustrate this thinking perfectly, flirting with lightness and wonder (‘Come away, come sweet love’), wit (‘Say, love, if ever thou didst find’) and steely resignation (‘Come, heavy sleep’) as well as the masterly control of darkened timbre (‘In darkness let me dwell’) one would anticipate. The range of colour afforded to the songs by Davies yields a recital which stimulates interest and thought over its full 76 minutes; a far cry from many more monochromatic recordings of the repertoire.

Young lutenist Thomas Dunford is also a wonderful artist. No mere accompanist he, he is nonetheless an excellent accompanist, partnering Davies with great grace. His solos are some of the gems of the album, the diminutions of the ‘Frog Galliard’ interpolated within ‘Now, oh now I needs must part’ flying from the string with a nonchalant elegance. The recorded sound here is as fine as one would expect from Hyperion, with, rightly, an equal partnership exhibited in a sonic light that is both natural and gently nurturing.

Catherine Groom Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing