Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears

Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears cover
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Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears
Phantasm, Elizabeth Kenny

[ Linn SACD / Hybrid SACD ]

Release Date: Wednesday 20 July 2016

John Dowland's gifts as an exceptional melodist are evident throughout Lachrimae or Seven Tears, an artistic achievement which has cast a remarkable spell on early music.

Summing up the Renaissance preoccupation with melancholy, this extraordinary collection of dance music for viols and lute includes Dowland's 'signature' piece, Semper Dowland semper Dolens.

Dowland reveals a personal world of sublime sadness, grief, anger and melancholy mollified by moments of joy and gladness.

A skilled lutenist, Dowland's intricately-worked parts demand perfect synchronicity between Phantasm and Elizabeth Kenny, who rise to the technical and tempi challenges of marrying their instruments.

The popularity of Dowland's music in his own lifetime continued through the centuries with Lawes, Jenkins and Gibbons all paying homage to Dowland's 'Tears'.

Although freed from lyric constraints poetic images linger prompting Phantasm's Laurence Dreyfus to describe this as 'the most sensuously tuneful hour of music ever written'.

"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." (Guardian Five Stars)

"The performances are elegant, rich-textured and beautifully phrased. Affecting." (Sunday Times)

"Phantasm's performances are totally convincing and absorbing. Drawing richly on their depth, intensity and homogeneity of tone, their acuity to the music's ever-active emotional flux leaves them unafraid to use forceful gestures of articulation and dynamics to make a point." (Gramophone Award WINNER 2017 - Early Music)


1. Lachrimae Antiquae
2. Lachrimae Antiquae Novae
3. Lachrimae Gementes
4. Lachrimae Tristes
5. Lachrimae Coactae
6. Lachrimae Amantis
7. Lachrimae Verae
8. Mr Nicholas Gryffith his Galliard
9. Sir John Souch his Galliard
10. Semper Dowland semper Dolens
11. Mr Giles Hoby his Galliard
12. The King of Denmark's Galliard
13. Mr Bucton his Galliard
14. The Earl of Essex Galliard
15. Captain Piper his Galliard
16. Mr Henry Noell his Galliard
17. Mr Thomas Collier his Galliard with two trebles
18. Sir Henry Umpton's Funeral
19. Mr George Whitehead his Alman
20. Mrs Nichols's Alman
21. Mr John Langton's Pavan