The programme, entitled ‘Not Just Dowland’ sets the father of English song alongside his contemporary Robert Johnson, who notably composed for the plays of Shakespeare, and the Italians Monteverdi, Grandi, Piccinini, Caccini and Merula. There are also instrumental items by Johnson, Ferrabosco, Rosseter and Kabsberger.
“Everything was so perfect, the evening seemed to pass in a flash,” was The Independent’s verdict on the Wigmore Hall recital in December 2008 by soprano Carolyn Sampson and lutenist Matthew Wadsworth. “The soprano Carolyn Sampson is blessed with a lovely voice …and the lutenist Matthew Wadsworth … really is a class apart among exponents of this increasingly popular musical instrument.”
“Carolyn Sampson’s pure soprano cossets the words, savouring their expressive implications, relishing their shifts of rhythm and subtly sighing with bliss, yearning or heartache, depending on the circumstances.” The Telegraph, 29th January 2010 ****
“One of the chief delights... is the opportunity to hear the theorbo at close quarters...in the skilled hands of Matthew Wadsworth it takes centre stage, both as a solo instrument and as an exquisite companion to Carolyn Sampson's sweet, lyrical soprano...a ravishing programme of beguiling melancholia.” The Observer, 7th February 2010
“Wadsworth's lute and theorbo...craft a seamless expressive narrative...Sampson is careful never to over-egg the grief, always keeping in reserve extremities of emotion for the very darkest moments - and she never distorts the musical line by over-dramatisation.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 *****
“Carolyn Sampson and lutenist Matthew Wadsworth are well matched protagonists and in the main they cope equally well with both repertories. Sampson's diction is especially clear in the English selections, which come across very naturally.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2010
“Both artists respond with dark-shaded tones to a music that is touched by the aching melancholy of its time and place.” Sunday Times, 12th December 2010 ***