A recital to value
Lute solos and songs
by Robert Johnson from
Robert Johnson died in 1633 leaving behind a reputation as one of the great English lutenists and yet only a small number of pieces as adequate proof of the fact.
He enjoyed a considerable reputation for some thirty or more years after his death, being compared by some with Dowland, from whose then fashionable style he progressed interestingly. Johnson used the full compass of a nine- or ten-course instrument to great effect, and Matthew Wadsworth's clear and careful performances of ten pieces (almost half of his surviving publications) include three Pavans, and four Almaynes of which this is the third
[listen -- track 20, 0:00-1:19].
The songs, an excellent selection with both lute and bass viol accompaniment, are most pleasingly performed by Carolyn Sampson. Although occasionally Johnson's authorship may be a little doubtful, as his setting of 'Have you seen the bright lily grow', from Ben Jonson's The Devil is an Ass
[listen -- track 17, 0:02-1:27],
there are some gems, among which I would include 'Where the bee sucks' from Shakespeare's Tempest
[listen -- track 4, 0:01-0:56].
The intimacy and agreeable sound quality make this a recital to value.