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Henry Lawes (1595-1662): Ayres / La Reveuse

Ensemble

Notes & Reviews:

Born in the final years of the reign of Elizabeth I, Henry Lawes lived through the troubled times of 17th century England. Brother of the charismatic but short lived William Lawes (1602-45), he was acknowledged in his day as one of the finest composers for the voice. This recording features a fascinating collection of his Ayres, performed by the French ensemble La Rêveuse. With his extended vocal ranges, expressive melodic formulas, vibrant dissonances and the highly poetic texts, Lawes was a subtle painter of the melancholy of his age, earning a place between John Dowland and Henry Purcell.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
Here is an outstanding program of Elizabethan music, one of the best to come my way in a while. The combination of instruments is charming and felicitous, with a harpsichord, lute, theorbo, baroque guitar, and a couple different kinds of viol. This is a good mixture of instrumental and vocal; Jeffrey Thompson's performance is truly excellent. He gives a very emotional and expressive reading of these songs, which is quite fitting given that many of them are from the intensely romantic Cavalier poets, like Robert Herrick and John Suckling. I also like it that the songs are neither all mournful nor all cheerful - the mood of the music is varied. The sound is excellent; notes are good; texts are in English, French, and German.



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