Knight of the Lute Matthew Wadsworth Primary Artist
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Description

Matthew Wadsworth is a fast-rising young British lutenist who numbers among his many accomplishments the development of a Braille lute tablature. He has accompanied singers, played in continuo groups, and performed various types of lute repertoire. With this release he takes on a collection that itself includes music from various European traditions: the Varietie of Lute Lessons published by Robert Dowland but likely compiled largely by his father, {|John Dowland|}, in 1610. The elder Dowland, on shaky ground in England due to his Catholic faith, traveled widely and learned lute pieces from French, German, Netherlandish, and Italian lutenists. The latter group included the shadowy {|Laurencini|} of Rome, whom Dowland dubbed the Knight of the Lute. Wadsworth appropriates the title for himself, and he deserves it. This is a superb recording of lute music, and not only because of the attractive variety of the program with its dances, intense fantasies (sample that by {|Gregorio Huwet|} of Antwertp, track 2, to hear the concentrated power of Wadsworth's playing), and dances inflected in their various national flavors. Other lutenists have recorded selections from the Dowland book, which offers ideal lute programs for the nonspecialist listener. But few have done them as beautifully as Wadsworth. He has mastered the art of highly expressive playing without losing the dance rhythms of the pavans and galliards, or even the pulse of the fantasies, taking tempos slightly on the slow side, with strong articulation and jewel-like execution of ornaments. He's aided by virtually unequalled sound from Channel Classics producer {|Jared Sacks|} and his band of merry Dutch engineers. With a strong admixture of high-frequency sound, they put you up close to the lute without overemphasizing the noises of the player's fingers moving around the strings and striking the instruments. It's spectacular on a decent conventional stereo, and it should be awe-inspiring in Super Audio surround sound. An exceptionally compelling recording worth the time of anyone looking for a basic late Renaissance lute recital.

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