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GUEST,Ian Pittaway Crossover alert: Sting does Dowland. (70* d) RE: Crossover alert: Sting does Dowland. 17 Oct 06

I am a lute player. At first I had reservations, not being a Sting fan and not having heard Sting do this material, though I was very pleased he was getting into Dowland. Saw him and Edin on the Culture Show a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed by his sincerety, his attitude of personal growth and learning through this music. It is wrong to think of Dowland as a classical composer: in Dowland's time the idea of 'classical music' hadn't been invented, and the classical style of singing (as Sting rightly points out) was still in the future. Dowland's songbooks were published for public consumption, for singing in people's own homes, so Sting certainly has a point in saying his style may be closer to the original intention than a modern counter-tenor and such. But does he do a good job? His lute technique isn't great in terms of sound production, but it's OK and he *does* say he's a learner and has Edin (who is fantastic) do almost all of the lute work. Heard them on the Early Music Show, Radio 3, last week. By 10 minutes in I was, much to my own surprise, whooping with joy at the freshness and vitality of his interpretations. And now, probably for the first time ever, an album of Renaissance lute music is in the album chart!!! Perhaps now folks like myself, instead of being asked what the instrument is, people will know because of Sting, and perhaps even come to love the music and explore further. Now that can't possibly be bad.

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