For this innovative attempt to bridge the gap between art song and pop song, John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin fame), Sting and Genesis-keyboardist Tony Banks were commissioned to write new lute songs. “Asking a rock music composer to set existing poetry within a genre we knew well meant that we singers wouldn’t need to pretend to be pop singers – we were still ‘interpreting’ a text in a way that we’re familiar with”, writes John Potter in the liner notes. Thus Tony Bank set 17th century poems by Thomas Campion (whose songs can also be heard here) and John Paul Jones set poems from the three great ages of Spanish literature.
Sting’s ‘Bury me deep in the Greenwood’ was originally intended for the film Robin Hood, and incorporates his own lyrics. Arrangement of the songs was established in the session at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in November 2014 with lutenists Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman. The album’s unconventional meeting of the old and the new was rounded off with songs by 20th century composers E J Moeran and Peter Warlock as well as the only piece known from the (almost anonymous) renaissance musician Picforth.