Unusual yet stimulating repertoire from the English Renaissance performed with style and persuasion!
We know all too little about William Corkine: that he was an English composer and musician - player of the lute, viol and lyra-viol - who flourished in the second decade of the seventeenth century in Britain before travelling to Poland in 1617. This is the only CD devoted entirely to Corkine's intense, melodious, concentrated and highly expressive music.
This music is truly lovely, focused and - perhaps most noticeably - reflects many moods. From the melancholy, so characteristic of the early Jacobean, through the pithy and pointed to the optimistic. But this is emphatically not a collection of historical curios. Nadine Balbeisi and Fernando Marín obviously have a great deal invested in the music, its emotional impact, the purposeful tension between text and music, at which we can safely say Corkine was expert. They present the rounded and mature resultant blend to us with neither fuss nor apology.
The attention paid to the construction and tuning of the instrument - a modern copy, described well in the accompanying booklet - is clearly as responsible for the happy embrace of voice with strings as are the technical expertise and interpretative skills of the duo. Equally interesting, and equally successful, is the approach which Balbeisi and Marín take to pronunciation. It's apparently a pronunciation consistent with scholars' best efforts at approximation to Early Modern English with its greater degree of what to us is 'earthiness'. And of greater variety … pronunciation of the same word may legitimately vary from song to song.
This CD has little of the sense of a standalone recital, nor an arbitrary collection, still less a thematic mixture. Rather, it's a faithful and hence highly enjoyable, offering laying as bare the music as Corkine – who, on this evidence, deserves to be better known - lays bare his mind and heart in music of true originality and depth.
Mark Sealey, Musicweb-international.com