Randall Scotting countertenor, Stephen Stubbs lute
Signum Classics SIGCD736

The musicians have ranged far and wide for the repertoire for this collection of music on the general subject of lovesickness. There is the anticipated music of Purcell, Lawes, Dowland and Blow, though by no means the most obvious repertoire by these masters, and interleaved with this we have traditional ballads from the Scottish, Irish and English traditions as well as songs by Marc Antonio Cesti, Danielle da Castrovillari and Pierre Guédron. Scotting has a flexible and rich countertenor voice, deft in ornamentation with a not unpleasant regular vibrato, which he applies intelligently and expressively to his chosen repertoire. Stephen Stubbs provides sympathetic accompaniments on lute and Baroque guitar, although his instrumental set from King Arthur as well as his brief account of Packinton’s Pound, both thematically a little at odds with the lovesick contents of the rest of the CD, are slightly puzzling choices. I found the accounts of the ballad material the least satisfying of the repertoire – it really belongs to another world from the earlier material and to my ear didn’t entirely suit Scotting’s refined vocal production. However, this CD is obviously a very personal project, and these two fine musicians’ enthusiasm for this wide-ranging repertoire communicates itself very well.

D. James Ross