first post-Pentangle (or nearly post-Pentangle) solo album, joined
briefly by fellow guitarist Dominique Trepeau and featuring further
contributions by John James, is one of his most beautiful recordings,
and also among his most spare guitar instrumentals. Some of the material
is drawn from lute and harp sources, and it is ear-opening to hear
some of the more familiar pieces among the latter (such as "O'Carolan's
Concerto") transcribed for guitar, but Renbourn isn't above adapting
themes from television commercials, either. The mood of much - though
not all - of this record is one of serious introspection, as Renbourn
stays generally within a classical guitar mode. He has fun with the
material, and the CD booklet also includes musical transcriptions
of some of the tunes on the record, for the benefit of Renbourn's
Renbourn's last solo album
for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring
Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn
band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory
consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with
the expected folk material - keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal
book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such
as "Scarborough Fair," which turns up as part of an 11-minute
track that also incorporates "My Johnny Was a Shoemaker,"
with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely
instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses
- Bruce Eder (AMG)
This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval
music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably
the English dance tune 'Trotto' and the Italian 'Saltarello', to which
I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. 'Lamento
di Tristan' and 'La Rotta' are fourteenth century Italian pieces played
originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune
doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus 'Veri Floris', composed during the Notre
Dame period, is a setting for the words 'Under the figure of the true
flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy
has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond
ordinary useage from the nature of a flower".
This is followed by the triple ballade 'Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous'
of Guillaume de Machaut.
'Bransle Gay' and 'Bransle de Bourgogne' are from the danceries of
Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo
guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line
added. The anonymous 'Alman' is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal
Book and is followed by 'Melancholy Galliard' by the English lutanist
John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the 'Sarabande' in B Minor
by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, 'The Lady And The Unicorn'
and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song 'Westron Wynde',
and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: 'My
Johnny Was A Shoemaker' and 'Scarborough Fair'.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally
have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the
music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments.
John Renbourn plays guitars and sitar, Terry Cox plays hand-drums
and glockenspiel, Don Harper plays viola, Lea Nicholson plays concertina,
Tony Roberts and Ray Warleigh play flute and Dave Swarbrick plays
- John Renbourn