Many people consider John Dowland and Henry Purcell to be the finest composers of the solo song in the English language. This program brings together some of their best songs, such as Dowland’s In darkness Let Me Dwell and Purcell’s O Solitude, in a program that has entertained audiences throughout Europe. Chance and Beier can be heard on three CDs published by Stradivarius, the most recent of which, released in 2015, features late works by John Dowland (see CDs).
It was a hot summer day when the Tuscan town of Chiusure welcomed us in its only ristorantino. The thick pasta and ample vegetables had given place to fresh figs, cantuccini and sweet vin santo, when Paul started tuning his beautiful renaissance lute. I sang several madrigals to his delightful playing, and as the afternoon grew more drowsy under the Italian sun, soft accents and warbling passages stole into our music as if to evoke a time long past. And so our first collaboration was born, a program of Verdelot madrigals printed in an intabulation by Wilaert in 1536 and extemporaneously ornamented by Paul and myself. Paul will also play lute music by the incomparable Francesco da Milano. In the poetry of the madrigals the renaissance idea of sweet death is prevalent. Like as the poet's love causes him to die and be reborn within the same poem, within a single night, so do these madrigals, which were born out of their creators' love and died out as musical taste shifted in the late Seicento, have their own renaissance here in the company of the two of us.
The famous duets by Georg Philipp Telemann, under the pseudonym Melante, are combined with other great baroque lute duets of the period.