Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|John Dowland, Tobias Hume, Francis Cutting|
Tears of the Muse
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
A beauty to stop you in your tracks
hcf | 05/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this CD as a gift from Dan Taylor himself and he would be happy to know that it has become one of the most cherished CD's in my vast collection. As much as I enjoyed Paul Agnew's wonderful recordings of English lute songs, Taylor's raw sincerity and subdued eloquence in the rendition of these songs probably surpass even Agnew's silken polish. The title line for my review comes from Gramophone, I just couldn't resist borrowing it because it is so apt! Most of the songs on this disc (in fact, all but one) are plaintive and sentimental. The choice is fitting because the pure fluid tone of Taylor's voice seems ideally suited to slow melodic lines such as these. I find Taylor's voice to be absolutely remarkable. To my ears, it combines the platinum radiance of David Cordier with the velvety opulence of Michael Chance - a rare combination indeed. As if the beautiful voice was not enough to spark interest, Taylor's singing here is also technically secure and lyrically expressive, ever so lightly adorned with tasteful ornaments. The emphases are all the more potent because they are sparsely used. For example, the second repetition of "Learn to condemn light" in Flow my tears is startling in its sudden roughness... I will never be able to listen to this song again in anybody's performance without expecting them to repeat that same modulation. To me at least, this is how these songs should be sung. firstname.lastname@example.org"
This sumptuous sorrow, this sweet rapture of song...
Ingrid Heyn | Melbourne, Australia | 11/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording dates from 1998, and the question I ask myself is... why did it appear in my favourite record shop only recently? And why was I not previously aware of this recording?
I'd heard Daniel Taylor first (or at least consciously noted his name) in the recording of Handel's Rinaldo, and thought at the time what an astonishing beautiful and sensitive sound he produced. I began a hunt for any recordings of his, and was unutterably delighted when, because I pestered the aforesaid music shop, a lot of ATMA Classique recordings appeared. (I seem to have answered my own question - the CDs appeared because I confessed to an absolute longing for anything sung by this counter-tenor!)
The recordings on the ATMA label include several with Suzie Le Blanc, another favourite of mine - and I was prompt to grab as many of the recordings as I could see.
This CD, "Tears of the Muse" consists of some of the most ravishingly exquisite songs by Dowland ever composed - and certainly Daniel Taylor's performance of them is the perfect blend of the intellectual and the emotional. Singing Elizabethan music is a little tricky for some in that a) yes, it must be sung in the appropriate style - a voice approaching Dowland in the same manner as Verdi is going to miss the mark by a mile; b) no, a straight and entirely vibrato-less sound which has as its only objective a dead-set on "Target Choir-Boy Timbre" is NOT the ideal here; c) yes, the songs need to be ornamented (ornamentation in music of this period includes sighs, breaths in the voice, the sound of tears, not just gruppi or other such ornamentations); d) no, swooping around like Renee Fleming is not good ornamentation or even good expressiveness.
Daniel Taylor not only knows this - he is an expert exponent. He sings with his heart and soul, not just his vocal folds. His vocal instrument is very beautiful, but without the intelligence he clearly possesses to control that voice, he would not be the singer he is. And beyond mere intelligence lies the ability to capture the listener/audience - many an intelligent singer with a perfectly nice-sounding voice will simply never enravish his/her audience because to do so is a gift that is both the product of hard work and a God-given talent.
Daniel Taylor has that gift.
I have listened to this CD and to other of his recordings several times, and I shall continue to enjoy them with deep pleasure. The detail, the overall delicacy combined with heart-melting beauty, the whole and sublime work evident in this... I am simply unable to listen to this recording without weeping with that happiness that is so close to sorrow that it almost cuts into one with pleasure.
This is a recording for everyone who loves early music, and if you've never heard early music, this is a perfect CD as your introduction to how it's done.