Antony Rooley writes: ‘Since 1963 I had been spending many hours in the British Library studying the sixteenth-century English lute manuscripts … what a unique collection! The “Jane Pickering Lute Book”, “The John Sturt Lute Book”, “The Mynshall Lute Book” – all collections of one individual’s personal choice of repertoire, each with unique information on fingering, ornamentation, taste and style.
‘I was invited by Decca to make a solo lute recital – and as no one in the company knew the repertoire, I was left alone to finalize my choice. How to choose from such wonderfully obscure collections from 400 years ago?
‘Why did I choose John Cozens’ Lute Book (residing in Cambridge University Library) from the rest? Well, I admired his taste! I admired his ornamentation! I admired his clarity! It is a wonderful collection of the very best Elizabethan/Jacobean lute music – and it was about the right length for an LP. (Although in the end I made a selection rather than the complete manuscript).
‘I can only say, 35 years on, I was a very lucky young man and I think I made the wisest choice – it is still a collection of very beautiful music!’
This delicious LP makes its first appearance on CD on this Decca Eloquence reissue.
“This is an anthology of the best kind … Rooley’s playing is thoughtful and gentle … he has a fine sense of the long-range spread of a piece and the playing has a pleasing combination of control and relaxation.” Gramophone