Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sting 0 Dowland 6

As I write this, I'm listening to Jacob Heringman playing Dowland. It's sublime. Dowland is, to me, the greatest. His Lachrimae Antiquae Novae will accompany my body when it's consigned to the earth or the flames. So, I was a little startled when 'er indoors alerted me to this. With that marvellous gift for oversimplification that he honed by airing ideas such as the one about love saving the rainforest, Mr Sumner suggests that Dowland was the first singer-songwriter. Well, I'm sorry, but equating Dowland with Cat Stevens or James Taylor is like suggesting Dan Brown is a modern Shakespeare. I dread to think what Sting will do to the vocal parts, quite apart from what he'll do with the complex lute lines - does he know a lute has more strings than a bass? I see that, in a move replicating Elvis Costello's excellent North, the album will be issued on Deutsche Grammophon. Declan won a little battle with Mr Sting some years ago when Gordon accused him of affecting an American accent in his singing. EC's reply was contemptuous, and homed in on the fake Jamaican of the Geordie Stingster. I fully expect a reggae beat to "Now O Now I needs must part"...
This is an opportunity to plug the excellent Magnatune.com - this is a growing collection of music available to download for much less than you'd pay in the shops. It gives the artists a very good deal. Worth a look.

1 comment:

David Oesterreich said...

I believe you're misquoting the characterization of Dowland. Sting did not call him (that I can find) "the first singer/songwriter".

What I heard him say was that Dowland was "the first international English pop singer". Whether that is a correct characterization, I leave to others, but don't put words in Sting's mouth and then turn around and shoot down your own words.

Dave Oesterreich