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Classical Notes: October 17, 2006 Archive

Hey ding-a-ding Sting

Posted at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2006 by Don Lee

So I flipped on the tube last night and there was Sting singing Dowland. Yes, the rock star Sting. Yes, John Dowland, the Elizabethan composer. Somehow I managed to miss the news that Sting has just released a CD of Dowland songs (on Deutsche Grammophon, no less). The appearance on NBC's Studio 60 is a novel marketing ploy.

Interestingly, on YouTube the lute arrangement of his own song, “Fields of Gold,” is posted, but I couldn’t find the Dowland—“Come away.”

The LA Times tells the story behind the CD here.

Sting says he approaches these Dowland tunes as if they were “pop songs written in 1603.” His reedy tenor has its limitations, as he learned in 1989 when he tried to fill a Broadway theater as Macheath in Threepenny Opera. But, to hark back to my comments last Thursday, I’ll bet that Sting's vocal technique will open a few new ears to Dowland.