Friday, September 28, 2012

What I’m listening to #1

The Collected Works of John Dowland, performed by The Consort of Musicke under Anthony Rooley. This was a birthday present last month from my wife, 12 CDs of heaven for sub-$70. That’s how much she loves me, but I’m appreciating 12 CDs more than the sub-$70. There are songs (the First Booke of Songs is from 1597; the Fourth Booke of Songs is from 1612), keyboard pieces, lute music (and stuff like that). Singers include Emma Kirkby. Martyn Hill and David Thomas. You can order the set from Mel at Marbecks here.

Dowland’s music is downbeat but/and as pure as music can be. It is like high-country stream water without the giardia. It has been used (or “referenced”) by Benjamin Britten in his great Nocturnal of 1964 and, more recently, Harrison Birtwistle in his equally great “Night’s Black Bird” of 2004. Dowland is pronounced Doland, hence his Latin title for one piece, “Semper Dowland, semper dolens” (always Dowland, always doleful).

Which brings us to Mickey Dolenz. The Monkees’ greatest hits collection Daydream Believer is playing now: the children have been enthusiastic early adopters of Abba, the Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, Te Vaka, Nick Cave and Talking Heads, but I fear I have left it too late for the Monkees.  Still, they like this, with Mickey singing:

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