JANE PICKERINGE'S LUTE BOOK
Works by Byrd, Dowland, anonymous, others
Jacob Heringman (lute)
No Reference Recording
No question, recordings of lute music are primarily snapped up by specialists and serious fans of the instrument--it's probably a rare thing for an undecided record store shopper to just impulsively pick up and purchase such a disc as this perfectly fine program of music from "Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book". However, owing to the extraordinary talents of lutenist Jacob Heringman and the eight- and ten-course lutes featured on this recording, it's not inconceivable that a sympathetic listener would be drawn to this gentle, genteel, and agreeably tuneful music and to the ear-friendly sound. Although most of the represented works are by anonymous early-17th century composers, such luminaries as Byrd and Dowland appear in this mysterious collector's manuscript.
These 30 works (nearly 75 minutes' worth!) are characterized by nothing if not variety of mood and rhythmic structure, contained in all manner of familiar forms of the period--allemande, galliard, horn-pipe, pavane, fantasia. Heringman, whose credits include more than 50 recordings, many in collaboration with major artists, is a perfect guide to this repertoire. His playing is a marvel of clarity and evenness of articulation across registers, but he also is careful to bring the melody appropriate prominence against subordinate accompanying figures when required. His always tasteful ornaments and ability to obtain colors from a single instrument that make us wonder if we're actually hearing two add up to a rare and entertaining listening experience--nothing earth-shaking or ground-breaking, just solid music-making. The sound is quite resonant yet captures all the close-up detail we could ask for with no distracting squeaking or scraping.
[26 June 2002]