The Lady And The Unicorn / The Hermit
Castle ESMCD436 (1996)


Album available as:-
(Castle ESMCD436)

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Renbourn's first post-Pentangle (or nearly post-Pentangle) solo album, joined briefly by fellow guitarist Dominique Trepeau and featuring further contributions by John James, is one of his most beautiful recordings, and also among his most spare guitar instrumentals. Some of the material is drawn from lute and harp sources, and it is ear-opening to hear some of the more familiar pieces among the latter (such as "O'Carolan's Concerto") transcribed for guitar, but Renbourn isn't above adapting themes from television commercials, either. The mood of much - though not all - of this record is one of serious introspection, as Renbourn stays generally within a classical guitar mode. He has fun with the material, and the CD booklet also includes musical transcriptions of some of the tunes on the record, for the benefit of Renbourn's fellow guitarists.

Renbourn's last solo album for the next six years overlaps with his Pentangle work, featuring Terry Cox playing hand drums and glockenspiel, with future John Renbourn band member Tony Roberts and violinist Dave Swarbrick. The repertory consists of medieval and early classical pieces, interspersed with the expected folk material - keyboard works from the Fitzwilliam virginal book (transcribed for guitar) stand alongside traditional tunes such as "Scarborough Fair," which turns up as part of an 11-minute track that also incorporates "My Johnny Was a Shoemaker," with Swarbrick at the top of his form on violin. The album is entirely instrumental, but as with other Renbourn releases, one hardly misses the vocals.

- Bruce Eder (AMG)

This record contains a variety of instrumental pieces including medieval music, folk tunes and early classical music. The oldest are probably the English dance tune 'Trotto' and the Italian 'Saltarello', to which I have added a drone accompaniment, tuning the guitar to DGDGCD. 'Lamento di Tristan' and 'La Rotta' are fourteenth century Italian pieces played originally on vielle. They too are without harmony but have the tune doubled either on sitar or glockenspiel.
The three part conductus 'Veri Floris', composed during the Notre Dame period, is a setting for the words 'Under the figure of the true flower which the pure root produced, the loving devotion of our clergy has made a mystical flower constructing an allegorical meaning beyond ordinary useage from the nature of a flower".
This is followed by the triple ballade 'Sancuer-Armordolens-Dameparvous' of Guillaume de Machaut.
'Bransle Gay' and 'Bransle de Bourgogne' are from the danceries of Claude Gervaise, composed in about 1550. The first is played on solo guitar but the second uses flute, fiddle and has a second guitar line added. The anonymous 'Alman' is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and is followed by 'Melancholy Galliard' by the English lutanist John Dowland. The sequence concludes with the 'Sarabande' in B Minor by J. S. Bach.
The album ends with two short guitar pieces, 'The Lady And The Unicorn' and an arrangement of the sixteenth century song 'Westron Wynde', and arrangements for flute, viola and guitar of two folk songs: 'My Johnny Was A Shoemaker' and 'Scarborough Fair'.
I have not presumed to reproduce early music as it would originally have been played, but hope nevertheless that the qualities of the music can be enjoyed, though interpreted on more recent instruments.
John Renbourn plays guitars and sitar, Terry Cox plays hand-drums and glockenspiel, Don Harper plays viola, Lea Nicholson plays concertina, Tony Roberts and Ray Warleigh play flute and Dave Swarbrick plays violin.

- John Renbourn

Track Listing

1. Trotto/Saltarello (Traditional) - 02:34
2. Lamento Di Tristan/La Rotta (Traditional) -02:56
3. Veri Floris/Triple Ballade (Traditional) - 02:45
4. Bransle Gay/Bransle De Bourgogne (Claude Gervaise) - 02:50
5. Alman/Melancholy Galliard (Fitzwilliam Virginal Book/John Dowland) - 04:40
6. Sarabande (Johan Sebastian Bach) - 02:44
7. The Lady And The Unicorn (Traditional) - 03:25
8. My Johnny Was A Shoemaker/Westeron Wynde/Scarborough Fair (Tradtitional) - 13:08
9. The Hermit (John Renbourn) - 03:20
10. Old Mac Bladgitt (Traditional) - 03:59
11. Caroline's Tune (John Renbourn/Domminique Trepeau) - 03:21
12. Three Pieces By O'Carolan (Turlough O'Carolan) - 00:58
13. The Lamentation Of Owen Roe O'Neill/Lord Inchiquin/Mrs Power (Trad/Turlough O'Carolan) - 00:40
14. The Princess And The Puddings (John Renbourn) - 02:01
15. Pavanna (Anna Bannana) (John Renbourn) - 03:40
16. Toy For Two Lutes (Thomas Robinson) - 01:30
17. Lord Willoughby's Welcome Home (Traditional) - 05:16

John Renbourn - Guitars, Sitar
Terry Cox - Hand Drums, Glockenspiel
Don Harper - Viola
Lea Nicholson - Concertina
Tony Roberts - Flute
Ray Watleigh - Flute
Dave Swarbrick - Violin


Artist Gig Guide

Click on the links below to see an accurate gig guide of the following artists.

Davey Graham

Bert Jansch

John Renbourn

Roy Harper

John Martyn


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