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Every note sparkles as North breathes life and passion into a beautiful collection.
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Nigel North - A Varietie of Lute Lessons - Classic CD

03 January 2000
Classic CD

It was with this collection that a certain teenage guitarist called Nigel North cut his lute teeth - more profitably when he finally acquired a lute! - and he's lived with the music now for nearly 30 years. The recording is thus both homecoming and revisiting a first love - and the sense of affection shows. About half the pieces are recorded and the lion's share (as in the anthology) goes to John Dowland whose son took the anthologist's credit on the title page, though Dowland senior despite "being now gray and like the swan but singing towards his end" probably had a major hand in the project.

The geographical as well as musical range is imposing. Germany and Italy, France and the Low Countries cut the English contributions, and North is typically the ever-attentive polyglot; Dowland however always seem to strike a particularly expressive chord whether it be in a deliciously knowing and smile-inducing account of the Essex Galliard or the gripping narrative North discloses in the Earle of Derby's specimen. Like an expert chef, North knows the secret of turning a memorable sauce into an unforgettable one with the merest hint of adjustment to the seasonings. Production values, moreover, are beyond reproach. Superb sound, seductive instrument (a nine-course lute specially commissioned from Paul Thomason) and exemplary liner notes by North himself. What are you waiting for?

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