Phantasm - Dowland: Lachrimae - The Observer
"The most sensuously tuneful hour of music ever written", is Phantasm director Laurence Dreyfus's wittily provocative description of Dowland's Lachrimae; you might expect it to be said of Puccini or Gershwin, but of Dowland in 1604? Yet it's apt, because several of the lively dances that follow the sad pavans are versions of Dowland's wonderful songs. Can She Excuse My Wrongs works better as The Earl of Essex Galliard, with its repeated notes and syncopated rhythms. At the heart of this disc are the seven variants of the utterly memorable Lachrimae theme, played by Phantasm with their expressive warmth and exquisite subtlety. Perhaps Elizabeth Kenny's lute is underbalanced, but this is otherwise perfect.