Songs From The Labyrinth - Sting

[Updated: January 2, 2007]

Songs From The Labyrinth - Sting

Title:Songs From The Labyrinth - Sting
Label:Deutsche Grammophon
Catalogue number:1703139
Release date:October 16, 2006
  1. Walsingham (Ballad setting for lute; Poulton no. 672)
  2. She excuse my wrongs? (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil, Nuremberg, 10 November 1595)
  3. "Ryght honorable: as I have bin most bounde unto your honor ..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil, Nuremberg, 10 November 1595)
  4. Flow My Tears (Second Booke of Songes, 1600, no. 2)
  5. Have You Seen The Bright Lily Grow (from Ben Jonson: The Devil is an Ass, 1616)
  6. "...Then in time passing on Mr. Johnson died..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  7. The Most High and Mighty Christianus the Fourth, King of Denmark, His Galliard (for lute, Poulton no. 40)
  8. The Lowest trees have tops (Third Booke of Songes, 1603, no. 19)
  9. "...And accordinge as I desired ther cam a letter..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  10. Fine Knacks for ladies (Second Booke of Songs, 1600, no. 12)
  11. "...From thenc I went to the Landgrave of Hessen..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  12. Fantasy (for lute, Poulton no. 6)
  13. Come, heavy sleep (First Booke of Songes, 1597, no. 20)
  14. Forlonr Hope Fancy (for lute, Poulton no. 2)
  15. "...And from thence I had great desire to see Italy..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  16. Come again (First Booke of Songes, 1597, no. 17)
  17. Wilt thou unkind thus reave me (First Booke of Songes, 1597, no. 15)
  18. "...After my departure I caled to mynde our conference..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  19. Weep you no more, sad fountains (Third Booke of Songes, 1603, no. 15)
  20. My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home (Version for two lutes; Poulton no. 66)
  21. Clear or cloudy (Second Booke of Songes, 1600, no. 21)
  22. "...Men say that the Kinge of Spain is making gret preparation..." (Letter to Sir Robert Cecil (cont.))
  23. In darkness let me dwell (Musicall Banquet, 1610, no. 10)
Remarks: Sting - vocals and archlute (tracks 9, 15 and 20)
Edin Karamazov - lute and archlute

Produced by Sting & Edin Karamazov
Engineered and Mixed by Donal Hodgson
Sound Designer: Kipper Eldridge
Recorded at Steerpike Studios, Il Palagio, Italy
Additional Recording & Mixing at Metropolis Studios
Assistant at Metropolis Studios: Iain Gore
Mastered by Ian Cooper
Lutes provided by Cezar Mateus and Klaus Jacobson
Management: Kathryn Schenker/KSM, Inc.
A&R: Martin Kierszenbaum

This album featuring compositions from John Dowland (1563 - 1626). Sting recored all the songs together with Bosnian lute player Edin Karamazov. Edin has received universal praise in the USA and Europe for his thrilling solo recitals; he has performed with leading international early music ensembles. His commitment to exploring the importance of plucked instruments in different cultures breaks down barriers and ranges across nations.

In the early 1980s, Sting was first introduced to the music of John Dowland and has confessed that his music has been “gently haunting” him for more than twenty years. “About two years ago my long-time guitarist, Dominic Miller, gave me a gift that he’d had made for me, a lute – a sixteenth-century instrument with lots of strings. I became fascinated with it and immersed myself in lute music. It rekindled an interest I’ve had for a long time in the works of John Dowland, who wrote a number of fantastic lute songs. Dowland was really the first English singer/songwriter that we know of and so many of us owe our living to this man.”

John Dowland’s life was a colourful one. Before becoming court lutenist to James I in 1612, he had spent most of his career abroad in the service of kings, dukes, and princes throughout Europe, where he was recognized as one of the greatest musicians of his day. In 1595 Dowland wrote a letter to Queen Elizabeth I’s Secretary of State, Sir Robert Cecil, pleading his allegiance to the English throne in the hope of an invitation back to England and into the Royal Court. He would have to wait a further seventeen years before his wish came true. It is extracts from this extraordinary letter which Sting incorporates into this album as short recitations, re-creating a flavour of Dowland’s life and times.

“This project was never really meant to be a record. It was a labour of love. I wanted to learn these songs, and out of curiosity, Edin and I just kept going. I think it only became a record when we decided to put extracts of this letter in. Those that are familiar with John Dowland normally think of him as being this melancholy, doom-laden character; but he can write songs that are absolutely joyful – full of passion and happiness. He has it all.”

Sting continues, “I’m not a trained singer for this repertoire, but I’m hoping that I can bring some freshness to these songs that perhaps a more experienced singer wouldn’t give. For me they are pop songs written around 1600 and I relate to them in that way; beautiful melodies, fantastic lyrics, and great accompaniments.”

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