Nigel North - Go From My Window - Millennium of Music

Nigel North has an unrivalled reputation as a lutenist. His style merges impeccable technique with a jazz-like improvisational ability, which makes repertoire like Dowland ideal. The great lutenist composers of the sixteenth century were masters of improvisation, but, of course, we have no concrete evidence of the forms that these improvisations took. ‘The versions that are handed down to us in lute tablature are often so well worked out and complicated that they may represent a parallel track to the improvised version which we will never hear!' says North.

Of the composers represented on Go From My Window, Dowland needs no introduction. Of the previous generation, John Johnson is now less well known. He was one of Queen Elizabeth I's three court luteninsts for fifteen years. Employing his special style of ‘division writing', Johnson wrote many beautiful solos and duets. As North says: ‘While his ‘Walsingham' is breathtakingly simple, ‘Carman's Whistle' may sound simple but is actually technically very demanding. I doubt that even Johnson could have improvised this setting.'

Millennium of Music
19 February 2016