'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John Dowland and a Man Possessed

Robin has become a man possessed.
He has re-found the music for a beautiful piece by John Dowland (1563-1626), 'Sir Henry Gifford's Almaine'.

The piece itself is superb, inspired, and has some very difficult acrobatic work, for the left hand in particular.
Anyone who can conceive of such a piece must have been an outstanding player.

Dowland was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and you can get a real sense of the times whist listening to it.

Some of the ideas in the variations on the theme are very adventurous harmonically, and would have originally been played on the lute.
To achieve a similar effect, Robin plays with a capo at the third fret.

When I say possessed, I do mean possessed.
I can't walk past the music room without him calling out, "Come and listen to this bit", and as I try to sidle past unnoticed, he adds, "I know you're there".

This is what happens to a musician when they fall in love with a piece of music all over again.
Every note is analysed, and a process of interpreting the music commences.
Then there's the fingering.
"Does this sound better, or this?"

Many hours are given over to finding the most economical positioning to enable the piece to flow smoothly.

Meanwhile, the rest of us in the house, have a crash course in Dowland and all things connected.
But that's OK, it's all very interesting, and luckily I love the music of Dowland.
Ask me again by the end of the week though, when I've heard the same piece for 3 days, and none of the pre-Christmas jobs have been dealt with as Dowland has intervened....

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