MERCURIAL LOVEMusic of John Dowland & Henry Purcell
John Dowland, Henry Purcell
JAMA JANDROKOVIC, soprano
Jory Vinikour, Harpsichord
Charles Weaver, Lute
Carlene Stober, Viola Da Gamba
"This disc celebrates the titans John Dowland and Henry Purcell, who stand as colossal bookends at opposite ends of the 17th century. While their individual backgrounds and careers differed, their achievement in the realm of accompanied solo song is strikingly similar... Each of these songs is a little jewel, expressed succinctly, with elegance, beauty, and refinement... Mercurial Love explores the full gamut of life's most complex emotion: love's exhilaration and frustration, volatility and fickleness, tenderness, despair, and myriad other qualities... The instrumental solos interspersed among the songs extend the mood to a more abstract realm, expressing the emotional state where the poetry and the melody lead the listener... Neither Dowland nor Purcell leaves the singer any place to hide [and] Ms. Jandrokovi confronts this nakedness, exposing private feelings, thoughts and experiences through her sensuous, unique voice"
Amazon Editorial Review
"...she has a beautiful voice, light and sweet."
American Record Guide - September / October 2008
"Jandrokovic [has a] pure, attractive voice... The programme is nicely varied... Right from the opening track, one is immediately made aware of Jandrokovic's concern for the words and their expression. Weaver and Stober are equally judicious in their accompaniments... both Jandrokovic and vinikour delight in the expressive possibilities afforded by Purcell's writing...[this is a] thoroughly enjoyable recital that in many ways provides an excellent introduction of the music of thee two fine composers."
International Record Review - September 2008
"vivacious performance…pearly tone…sung by Jandrokovic' with a twinkling relish of potential pleasures…"
MusicWeb International - September 2008
"Jama Jandrokovic...is in possession of a light, lyrical, sweetly subtle voice that suits these songs very well...From [Dowland to Purcell] there are simply no finer tunes that have ever floated through the air...the soprano has her way with these composers to excellent effect."
Audiophile Audition - July 2008
"From Ja-ma Jandrokovic'... comes an offering as unexpected as it is purely delightful. In repertoire that we’ve been used to hearing sung by either a countertenor or a tenor with a distinctively "white" vocal quality, Ms. Jandrokovic'’s light lyric soprano and seamlessly flawless vocal production seems to float over some of the most formidable obstacles in the literature with deceptive ease. She is also a very sensitive interpreter of a song text. Her noticeable passion for poetry is a vital requisite for songs written in a great period of the English lyric."
Atlanta Audio Society - July 2008
England in the 17th century was a different story. In addition to the aristocracy, many members of the middle class were well acquainted with both poetry and music. English composers capitalized on this knowledge, exploring ways to meld the messages of text and sound in ways that heightened sensory impact.
Elizabethan and Jacobean England boasted the finest musicians in the western world and a stable of stellar composers equal to those of any other country. This disc celebrates the titans John Dowland and Henry Purcell, who stand as colossal bookends at opposite ends of the 17th century. While their individual backgrounds and careers differed, their achievement in the realm of accompanied solo song is strikingly similar. Soprano Ja-ma Jandrokovic', harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, lutenist Charles Weaver and viola da gambist Carlene Stober have recreated an evening of music-making in a civilized and cultured household, presenting accompanied vocal music and instrumental solos.
Each of these songs is a little jewel, expressed succinctly, with elegance, beauty, and refinement: a Fabergé egg, two centuries ahead of that concept. ‘Mercurial Love’ explores the full gamut of life’s most complex emotion: love’s exhilaration and frustration, volatility and fickleness, tenderness, despair, and myriad other qualities. "Sometimes several aspects occur within a single song," observes Ms. Jandrokovic. For example, Dowland’s ‘Come again’ presents eager anticipation in the first stanza, mourning and weeping in the second, and ends with despair. Similarly, but with the inverse trajectory, ‘Sweeter than Roses’ is chameleon-like. It first yearns, then becomes passionate, then languorous, and finally triumphant. The instrumental solos interspersed among the songs extend the mood to a more abstract realm, expressing the emotional state where the poetry and the melody lead the listener.
Soprano Jama Jandroković has charmed audiences and critics with her clear, pure soprano voice and engaging stage presence. A versatile interpreter of song, she is equally at ease in early music, new music, Lieder and Broadway. Native to the wind-swept plains of Wyoming, she has appeared in major international concert halls including Konzerthaus Berlin, Munich's Gasteig für Kultur and New York's Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Critics and audiences have thrilled to her artistry, delighting in her "lovely lyric soprano and gift for poetry" [New York Newsday] and praising her "appealingly sweet" [Opera News] and "clear and wonderful voice" [Glamour Magazine Germany].
Ms. Jandroković has a passion for poetry which guides her singing. She is most at home in the recital literature and has worked with the celebrated art song composer Lori Laitman and the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec. This collaboration prompted Opera News critic Joanne Sydney Lesser to applaud "her genuine desire to collaborate and communicate, as well as her commendable commitment to new music." The New York Times has observed, "Give this soprano credit for putting herself on the line." She has done so again with this CD which explores her interest in early music. Neither Dowland nor Purcell leaves the singer any place to hide. Ms. Jandroković confronts this nakedness, exposing private feelings, thoughts and experiences through her sensuous, unique voice.
Jory Vinikour is recognized as one of the outstanding harpsichordists of his generation. A highly diversified career brings him to the world’s most important festivals and concert halls as recital and concerto soloist, partner to several of today’s finest singers, and as one of the most visible continuo performers. Born in Chicago, Jory came to Paris in 1990 on a scholarship from the Fulbright Foundation to study with Huguette Dreyfus and Kenneth Gilbert. First Prizes in the International Harpsichord Competitions of Warsaw (1993) and the Prague Spring Festival (1994) brought him to the public’s attention, and he has since appeared in festivals and concert series throughout much of the world. A concerto soloist with a repertoire ranging from Bach to Nyman, he has performed as soloist with leading orchestras including Rotterdam Philharmonic, Flanders Opera Orchestra, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonic of Radio France, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and Moscow Chamber Orchestra with conductors such as Armin Jordan, Marc Minkowski, Constantine Orbelian, John Nelson and Fabio Luisi. He has participated in a recording of Frank Martin’s Petite Symphonie Concertante with the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Armin Jordan (OSR, 2005), and also performed the Harpsichord Concerto by the same composer with the Symphony Orchestra of the MDR in Leipzig’s Gewandhaus under the direction of Martin Haselböck in January 2003. Increasingly known as an accompanist, he has appeared extensively in recital with artists such as David Daniels, Hélène Delavault, Magdalena Kozena, Annick Massis, Marijana Mijanovic and others. He has accompanied legendary Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter in recitals in Sweden, Norway, Spain and Paris and at La Scala in Milan. With luthenist Jakob Lindberg, a programme of English and Italian music of the 17th century, entitled Music for a While was released by Deutsche Grammophon.
Charles Weaver plays lute and theorbo with the early music ensembles ARTEK and Repast. He has also performed with Hesperus, Piffaro, St. Luke’s, and the Yale collegium. His main interests are accompanying baroque opera and working with the New York Continuo Collective, a group that explores the tradition of reciting Italian poetry to music in the 17th century. With his duo partner, soprano Elizabeth Baber, he has created programs of 16th and 17th-century song praised for their "imagination in programming." The Washington Post has described his performances as "captivating" and "splendid."
Carlene Stober is a member of early music ensembles Empire Viols and the Grenser Trio and is continuo cellist for the celebrated Bach Vespers series at New York City’s Holy Trinity Church. In addition to performing with many ensembles, she has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on Prairie Home Companion, with the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Theatre for a New Audience. On modern cello, she served as principal cellist of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Lake George Opera Festival Orchestra.
JOHN DOWLAND (1563-1626)
Come again: Sweet love doth now invite
Weep you no more, sad fountains
If my complaints could passions move
A Fancy (Lute)
Can she excuse my wrongs? (Viol, Lute)
Away with these self-loving lads
HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695)
A new ground in E minor (Harpsichord)
Music for a while
I attempt from Love’s sickness to fly
New minuet in D minor (Harpsichord)
Cupid, the slyest rogue alive
Hornpipe in D minor (Harpsichord)
What can we poor females do?
Hornpipe in E minor (Harpsichord) & There’s not a swain
Dear, pretty youth
A ground in D minor (Harpsichord)
If music be the food of love (1st setting)
Sweeter than roses