Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book

[A Toy]; A Toye; A Toye; Almaine by francis cuttinge; A Toye; A Toye (Up Tails All); Draw near me and lowe me; A Pavin by Rosseters; a galyerd by Rossesters; my lord willoughbies welcome home by Mr byrde; Mall symes; [coranto]; An [Allemande]; Galliarde; [a country dance]; Besse-bell; Horne-pipe; Sarabande; de Sarabande; a pavin by Mr Johnson; A crananto (Coranto); [A Toy]; A Toye; A Toye (The Friar and the Nun); (A Toy); A pauin by Mr Daniell Bachler; A Galyard by Mr Daniell Bachler; A Fantasia; the Madlay; Sweet Robyne

Jacob Heringman (lute)

rec 6-8 Feb 2001, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, York, England

AVIE AV0002 [74.36]

This is an anthology of gentle, but not blandly genteel, lute music. It is drawn from British Library Manuscript, Egerton 2046 which is known as 'Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book' because of the signature carried on one folio of the book. The sheet carries the date 1616.

A Toye (5) is an essay in superbly boisterous delicacy; not the soporific you might expect. Draw near and lowe me - has a Scottish lachrymose air. The dissonance of an allemande with its highly complex skein of notes is extremely impressive and has a special comely grace. A pauin by mr johnson is extremely impressive in its sentiment and its reserve. Also worth highlighting is a Fantasia - a journey through icy realms.

I am not a lute or lutenist specialist but Lynda Sayce's notes (English, French, German) struck me as scholarly and readable. I had however to keep reminding myself that there is no evidence, except circumstantially and speculatively, that the Jane Pickeringe (of the folio's supposed signature) was a lutenist. The pieces may or may not reflect her abilities as a musician. Her name may appear for a host of reasons. Perhaps it does not matter greatly for here is an offering of shapely and ingratiating music.

I listened on headphones to what appears as a very close-up recording with something that sounds like the merest whisper of hiss but surely cannot be; it is a DDD recording. Avie and Heringman have been successful in the artful avoidance of 'mechanical' noises associated with the playing of the lute.

This music is plangent and touching - often emotional in a way that still speaks to contemporary listeners.

Rob Barnett

This music is plangent and touching - often emotional in a way that still speaks to contemporary listeners. ... see Full Review