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Track(s) taken from CDA67648

Unquiet thoughts

1597; A Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres
author of text

Mark Padmore (tenor), Elizabeth Kenny (lute)
Recording details: February 2007
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 46 seconds

Cover artwork: Disappointed Love (1821) by Francis Danby (1793-1861)
Victoria & Albert Museum, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This fascinating release does more than raise the standard of Dowland interpretation yet another notch: it also helps to contextualise the composer in relation to both his own time and ours … Mark Padmore again shows why he is one of today's finest tenors. The quicker songs, like Away with these self-loving lads, gain in clarity from a semi-declamatory approach, while the slower are eerily viol-like. The interpretations are restrained yet intense. Elizabeth Kenny's lute caresses the vocal line, embellishments, colour changes and rhythmic pointing never retarding the flow' (Gramophone)

'Flow, my tears is beautifully inflected, though finer still is In darkness let me dwell, where in the final bars Padmore's enrapt engagement seems to conjure up the very chill of death … with Elizabeth Kenny's insightful support, there is an involvement which even surpasses Paul Agnew's superb Dowland recordings of a decade ago' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The opening Unquiet thoughts introduces the clarity and lightness, as well as the dynamic chading and delicate ornamentation on repeated phrases which are a feature of all that follows … engagingly written booklet notes by Kenny and a fine recorded sound provide just two more reasons to recommed this as one of the best Dowland recitals on disc to come our way in a long time' (International Record Review)

'Since Emma Kirkby's first recording in the late-1970s, we have known what to expect from Dowland's lute songs. Some fine discs have followed, but not until Mark Padmore and Elizabeth Kenny's new release has there been one as radical in its potential impact on our understanding of the music. With tonal purity intact, voice and lute add subtle decoration, rhythmic fluidity, drama and rich poetic sensibility to these songs, using Craig Ogden's expressive performance of Britten's 'Nocturnal' as their foil. Odd to hail 'Come again' as the highlight, but the vivid reading of this ostensibly simple song is a revelation' (The Independent on Sunday)

'The lyrical tone, immaculate diction and musicianship of Britain's finest tenor … he makes the strongest possible case for regarding Dowland as the father of English song with his expressive, deeply-felt accounts of some of the best-known numbers … Kenny's authoritative booklet notes puts the songs into a fascinating historical context' (The Sunday Times)

'Padmore is wonderfully expressive in Flow, my tears, which he embellishes fluently. Britten's dreamy guitar solo Nocturnal after John Dowland is sandwiched between the songs and exquisitely played by Craig Ogden' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Padmore sounds genial, worldly, relaxed. He can be touchingly tender at times: he has an affecting vibrato, which he uses effectively … his voice is full, his enunciation clear' (Fanfare, USA)

'A good singer of lute-song repertoire needs refined poetic understanding, a clear voice … and an especially supple and easy top range. A real master also has the ability to bring special insight to those songs that often seem simple or repetitive. On an even higher level is Mark Padmore, who does all this with a winning spontaneity that makes even Dowland chestnuts sound fresh and true … he has a lovely way of sculpting a phrase … his voice can dip and soar with astonishing beauty and drama' (Opera News)

'A simply brilliant disc. I can't praise it enough. A bronze Liz Kenny should be on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square, in my opinion' (Early Music)

'Exquisite diction, studied and pure pronunciation, warm and burnished vocal tone, endless breath support. The incredibly long note at the end of Sorrow, stay will take your breath away, although Padmore sounds like he had some left over. Elizabeth Kenny, a distinguished lutenist is a sensitive partner, allowing Padmore to anchor the ends of phrases, add rhythmic touches to important words, and treat repeated phrases with an eye toward variation … the warm sound, captured in London's All Saints Church, renders the fragility of the genre, music that is meant to be heard from as close as possible, without introducing too much distracting detail' (IonArts.com)

'Having displayed Handelian virtuosity in his highly acclaimed solo release of last year, Padmore brings a more focused drama to his performance here. Kenny's sparse and precise accompaniment allows him to explore his voice as an instrument, sometimes mellow and resonant, sometimes cleaner, reedier, but never resorting to the sort of hollow breathiness that can taint exposed recital work. There is a great control of expression and Padmore's sensitive ornamentation makes the music his own—according to the project's theme—without garish disfigurement. The simple cover slip provides lyrics and detailed notes by Kenny, though Padmore's immaculate diction renders the former almost superfluous' (MusicOHM.com)
Unlike most of his colleagues Dowland did not acknowledge the authors of his texts. It is tempting to assume he wrote at least some of them himself. Dowland opens his Firste Booke with Unquiet thoughts, which is a summary of many of his classic preoccupations: internal struggles which have disquieting echoes of the political upheavals that were never far from the collective memory in late Elizabethan England, whether to be silent or to speak the heart’s passion, and a taste for startling visual imagery that inspires dramatic musical gestures: ‘Be still, for if you ever do the like/ I’ll cut the string that makes the hammer strike.’

from notes by Elizabeth Kenny © 2008

Contrairement à la plupart de ses collègues, Dowland fut indifférent aux auteurs de ses textes; il est cependant tentant de supposer qu’il en écrivît au moins quelques-uns. Il commence son Firste Booke par Unquiet thoughts, qui résume nombre de ses préoccupations classiques: tout d’abord, les querelles intestines, troublant reflet de ces bouleversements politiques qui, dans l’Angleterre élisabéthaine tardive, ne sont jamais éloignés de la mémoire collective, que ce soit pour garder le silence ou pour dire la passion du cœur; ensuite, un goût pour les images saisissantes qui inspirent des gestes musicaux dramatiques («Tiens-toi tranquille, car si jamais tu fais la même chose/ Je trancherai la corde qui actionne le marteau»).

extrait des notes rédigées par Elizabeth Kenny © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Im Gegensatz zum Großteil seiner Kollegen gab Dowland nicht die Autoren seiner Texte an. Man ist in Versuchung zu glauben, er habe zumindest einige von ihnen selbst geschrieben. Dowland in seinem Firste Booke beginnen mit Unquiet thoughts („Unruhige Gedanken“), ein Lied, das viele von Dowlands Grundgedanken zusammenfasst: innere Kämpfe einschließlich beklemmender Echos von den politischen Umwälzungen, an die man sich im spätelisabethanischen Zeitalter in England nur allzu gut erinnerte; die Frage, ob man lieber schweigen oder die Leidenschaft seines Herzens offenbaren solle; und eine Neigung zu auffälligen visuellen Metaphern, die zu dramatischen musikalischen Gesten anregen: „Be still, for if you ever do the like/I’ll cut the string that makes the hammer strike“ („Sei still, Denn sind die Worte so bestellt/schnitt ich das Band, mit dem der Hammer fällt“).

aus dem Begleittext von Elizabeth Kenny © 2008
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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