Compagnie Le Sonart

David Chevallier

Double Dowland

Double Dowland

Soprano Anne Magouët, jazz guitarist and lutenist David Chevallier Bruno Helstroffer, united in their love for John Dowland, build an intimate universe around his melancholic songs.

“Double Dowland” is a tribute to play, at the intersection between past and present, classical and jazz, recognition and surprise.

Discover Dowland with new ears.

CD released by Carpe Diem Records.

“For many of us, Dowland needs no revisions, additions, or radical reinterpretations. Yet I find Chevalier’s disc extremely appealing, his re-harmonizations of Dowland (mainly in the accompaniments) always musical as well as intriguing, his extensions of those pieces by improvised (or perhaps previously written) musings on Dowland’s melodies valuable in themselves. And although Chevalier also adapts some of the rhythms, the result is in no way jazz: His project has little in common with Jacques Loussier’s transformation of Bach melodies into 4/4 swing.

It helps that he accompanies a singer with a lovely, full-bodied voice, a singer who is generally faithful to what Dowland wrote and yet is never shaken by the perambulations of her accompaniment. Chevallier seems to have been drawn to Dowland, as are most of us, by the lovely, lyrical, melancholy melodies. So those melodies are presented largely intact with varying levels of reharmonization beneath them. In certain cases, as in Can she excuse, the revised accompaniment helps to reveal and dramatize the disturbed mental state of the singer, whose lover is unfaithful, and who asserts “Better a thousand times to die/Than for to live thus still tormented.” This disc is an unexpected pleasure.

Michael Ullman – Classical Reviews – Composers & Works Saturday, 30 August 2014

Anne Magouët : soprano
David Chevallier : acoustic guitars, theorbo, arrangements
Bruno Helstroffer : theorbo


John Dowland (1563-1626) is considered as a precursor of the romantic song.

Nothing is known about his origins, nor his education. In 1580, John Dowland was employed by the English ambassador in Paris (until 1584) and was thus able to get acquainted with the «air de cour» – songs performed at the King’s court-, a position that will have an influence on his own songs.

He was then awarded the degree of Bachelor in music at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He then travelled to Germany, where he stayed at the courts of Brunswick and Hesse between 1594 and 1598. During that period, he went to Italy in order to study with Luca Marenzio in Rome ; in Venice, he becomes Giovanni Croce’s friend.

Since he feared to be compromised with the « papists » that had taken refuge in Italy, he put an end to his journey to Florence and went back to Nuremberg and Kassel.

From 1598 to 1606, he is a lutenist at the court of Christian IV of Denmark. In 1601, he travelled to England to buy some intruments.

He then settled in London but was only appointed as a musician at the court of England in 1612- second musician for the lutes. He (then) spent the last fourteen years of his life in the service of James I and his successor, Charles I.