Concert Royal, Cologne
“Royal… noble sound in a courtly context” is a short description of the music of the famous renaissance lutenist John Dowland, which is the focus of Stefan Koim’s second album. On the one hand, compositions by Dowland are presented; compositions that represent an impressive combination of heart, mind and intellect from the pen of a worldly musician of the 16th century. On the other side are the two important modern compositions by Benjamin Britten and Hans Werner Henze, which refer in their works to Dowland and the lute music of the Elizabethan era. Explicitly, this is done in Britten’s Nocturnal, a variation on John Dowland’s Air Come heavy sleep, whose original form untypically appears only at the very end of the composition. Rather implicitly, the reference to Hans Werner Henze, who drew inspiration for his London-based cycle Royal Winter Music in the works of the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, is known to be a contemporary of Dowland. Unimaginable, therefore, that he did not also have Dowland’s lute music in his ear when writing his work for solo guitar… And so the compositions collected on this album should especially draw attention to two things: the still fascinating sound of a time that is often called the “golden age” of English History is described as well as the 400 years of still inspiring potential of this music for the music of modern times.