Here’s a wonderful piece by John Dowland (1563–1626), the great English Renaissance composer and lutenist, played by one of the finest young players around—Australian guitarist Andrey Lebedev (in a video made by James Finley). I asked Andrey to provide some thoughts on the piece, which he plays on a Jim Redgate guitar:
“I love the way this piece speaks on the instrument. Where two or three close voices might sound a little sparse on a keyboard, they fill the range of the guitar with both grandeur and delicacy. I hear this piece brimming with joy and vitality, although ironically Dowland is almost exclusively associated with melancholy.
“Dowland’s music comes at a transitional point between Renaissance and Baroque style and exemplifies many of the characteristics that would go on to shape the music of the High Baroque. The piece exhibits an extravagant emotional palette, rhythmic flair, and virtuosic instrumental writing. However, the language is still rooted in a capella vocal writing and does not use the grand architectural structures we’re so accustomed to in the music of Bach.” —Blair Jackson