Nigel North - A Varietie of Lute Lessons - BBC Music Magazine

A Varietie of Lute Lessons was one of Robert Dowland's two publications of 1610. Nigel North has known the collection since his early teens. His own new edition corrects many misprints, the most spectacular of which is the printing of the first piece's first note on the wrong string. The title is apt, to say the least. The publication includes pieces that Dowland's illustrious father John must have collected during his European travels in the later 1590s. Indeed North presents the possibility that the father may have had rather more to do with the collection than the son, who was still only 19 in 1610.

Of the 42 pieces in the collection, this disc presents us with a couple of dozen, contrasting in general terms the cool, refined English manner with the sometimes more extravagant ways of the Italians and the sense of adventure of the most up-to-date French composers, but also making the case for each composer as a unique creative personality. North's own notes explain everything in a detail sadly missing from most multi-lingual booklets these days - this one is in English only- but in the end it is his eloquently phrased and coloured playing, beautifully captured at close quarters by Linn's engineers, that says the most.

BBC Music Magazine
03 January 2000