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The Sypres Curten of the Night: Elizabethan & Jacobean Lute Songs
Thomas Campion, Thomas [Poet] Ford, Antony Holborne
The Sypres Curten of the Night: Elizabethan & Jacobean Lute Songs
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical


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A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 12/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)


Throughout history the lute has been used to accompany the human voice. The art of the lute ayre,like so many English cultural activities,is an eclectic one, for there are many influences in its evolution. These elements basically are: Classical and Bardic recitation, Italian improvisation, and French declamatory metrical forms. The many and varied type selections on this recording testify to all of these characteristics. Some of the composers included are: Campion,Ford,Holborne,Danyel and of course, John Dowland.

This disc showcases 2 great musicians who become one in performance. It is as if they could read each others' minds. The perfectly beautiful voice of Chance, who is in his element when he performs songs from this era, complements the technique and sensitivity of Wilson's lute playing. The songs themselves are very entertaining and run the gamut of human emotions. The title song: Sypres Curtain of the Night has to be one of Campion's best! The album opens with 3 Campion songs of a sacred nature: 'Never Weather-beaten saile' that speaks of a glorious God who welcomes us to his paradise- 'Author of Light' which speaks of a God who will guard us throughout our earthly life- and the title song 'The Sypres Curten of the Night' (I love this one!) that speaks of our soul in fear of our sins and meeting our God.

The next three songs by Thomas Ford speak of requited and unrequited love; lovely melodies, even in the sad ones. Three songs by John Danyl follow a lute solo 'Heres paternus' by Anthony Holborne played superbly by Wilson. The Danyl songs all about love except for the second one 'Drop not mine eyes' very sad about death and sorrow.

Philip Rosseter's 3 songs about love again, but one I found somewhat amusing 'Shall I come if I swim?' for this person is desperate to get to his love so he sings of several ways that he might get there. Two more lute songs by Anthony Holborne followed by four Dowland songs, none of which are happy, but then he is not known for writing happy odes.

The disc ends with a 'Fantasia' by Holborne on the lute and an incredibly beautiful song called 'Misere my Maker' that is anonymous. This song is sung by a dying man who is grieving his past sins, but trusts in God to forgive him. Chance sings this as only he can; that is with tremendous emotional investment (as he does in everything he sings). It never fails to move me.