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Program: #15-29, Air Date: 07/13/15The stunning new disc by John Potter combines history and a modern view; Thomas Campion, plus commissioned settings of old texts by John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin) and Tony Banks (of Genesis).
NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the recent release from John Potter and his ensemble. The recording is on the ECM label and is CD ECM 2441.
John Potter: voice
Ariel Abramovich: lute
Jacob Heringman: lute
For those who misread this as one of too many “casual” crossover projects, don’t forget the background of the pop musicians involved. Tony Banks played 12-string guitar on the early Genesis albums, Sting has recorded an entire album of songs by John Dowland and Robert Johnson, and John Paul Jones is a versatile and formidable musician. This is in part why the results of this collaboration are so successful. The other factor, of course, are the performances. Whether in tuning the achingly beautiful close part harmonies in Jones’s No Dormia or navigating the harmonic and rhythmic shifts found in abundance in Banks’s “The Cypress Curtain of the Night,” Potter, Friman, and their lutenist colleagues prove skilful and sympathetic collaborators. They make no pretense to be pop singers, performing with classically trained singers’ diction and tone. The way they manage to meet these songs in the middle is rhythm and phrasing: they readily adapt to the syncopation that is ubiquitous in pop songs and amply present in those collected here.
With material so uniformly strong, it is difficult to call out favorites. However, Sting clearly picked up a great deal about ayres when recording The Labyrinth. His “Bury me deep in the greenwood” could pass for a song by one of Dowland’s contemporaries: it is quite stirring. I would love to have a crack at the sheet music – even if I had to negotiate lute tablature! —Christian Carey
Written-By – Lope de Vega, John Paul Jones, 5:05
Written-By – Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, John Paul Jones, 5:19
Written-By – Anonymous, John Paul Jones, 4:32
Written-By – John Fletcher (4), Peter Warlock, 2:23
Written-By – Thomas Campion, 3:29
Written-By – Thomas Campion, 3:30
Written-By – Picforth, 2:30
Written-By – Thomas Campion, 3:14
Written-By – Tony Banks, 3:37
Written-By – A. E. Housman*, E. J. Moeran*, 2:18
Written-By – Tony Banks, 3:35
Written-By – Picforth, 2:17
Written-By – Sting, 4:00
II. Edin Karamazov: The Lute is a Song (Edin Karamazov, lute). L’oiseau-lyre CD B0013278-02.
GIOVANNI ZAMBONI (fl. c. 1700), John Paul Jones, Tony Banks, Sting, Picforth, Thomas Campion, E.J. Moeran, Peter Warlock, A.E. Housman, John Fletcher, John Campion, Lope de Vega, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, John Fletcher
CD ECM 2441, CD B0013278-02