Review: Campion: Ayres

Campion: Ayres:Thomas Campion (Composer), Drew Minter (Performer), Paul O'Dette (Performer)

Thomas Campion, one of the greatest (albeit within his own restricted range) of English poets and song writers, is well served by the selection and performance on this CD, which comes with a brief but very enlightening introductory note, and includes a booklet with all lyrics. People with a special interest in Campion's poetry and music certainly will want this CD, but I'd encourage anyone who wants to explore the poetry or music of the English Renaissance also to get it: both lyrics and music are accessible and surely would appeal to listeners regardless of whether they have a special interest in the period. Listeners whose primary interest is in music and performance should remember, as the introductory note reminds us, that Campion, though a very accomplished composer, was primarily a poet, and his compositions reflect this, with the music being always subordinate to the words. The performances here respect this priority, with Drew Minter's vocals clearly bringing the lyrics across with just enough personal expressiveness to heighten the poetry but not to distract from it, and Paul O'Dette's accompaniment likewise is always suggestive and supportive of the text without intruding on it. This is the one CD I'd recommend as a first choice for Elizabethan music or for Campion's work.

I originally got the French Harmonia Mundi 2006 CD; this is now no doubt available on streaming services, but then unfortunately you don't get the valuable notes.

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