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Catalog: VKJK 1814


The preparation for this album has taken soprano Marie Luise Werneburg on a journey of exploration and research between the 17th and 20th centuries- and even inspired her to commission two new songs from a leading British composer of the 21st century. The Dresden-born early music specialist was leaving through a friend’s copy of lute songs by the English composer Francis Pilkington (1565-1638) when she made an unexpected discovery. “I turned the page and there I saw ‘Diaphenia’ and thought: I know that!” By chance she was already familiar with Dominick Argento’s 1957 setting of the same poem (one of the American composer’s Six Elizabethan Songs) and was immediately struck by the existence of a setting composed some 370 years earlier. This discovery gave birth to the idea to develop a programme which combines old and new settings of the same poems. And ‘Diaphenia’s’ mood itself set the main criteria for what other songs should be included in the programme: they should only feature optimistic love, as yet unclouded by doubt. There was a lot of scouring facsimiles and songbooks to find suitable repertoire, and the programme grew to represent two golden ages of English song that exist in a kind of dialogue across the centuries. The 17th-century lute songs are interspersed with songs by those composers who were inspired by the rediscovery of renaissance music. There are two 17th-century poems that existed in early songs for which Werneburg was unable to find modern equivalents. So she commissioned 21st-century settings from London-born composer Joby Talbot which were written especially for this project and therefore are recorded here for the very first time.

Price: $22.99