Music’s Quill

CD reviews

Songs of Philip Rosseter, Part I

“The Maine-based duo of Timothy Neill Johnson and Timothy Burris brings a natural rapport and gentle delivery to these songs. Johnson’s lines are silky and warm; Burris’s accompaniment is placed simply and gracefully.” — Early Music America

“Johnson’s singing is very well judged, the tone never forced, the diction exemplary, with some effective use of appoggiatura, graces and divisions, and giving a general impression he has paid great attention to the meaning of the lyrics… Johnson’s vibrato humanises rather than dominates.
“Burris plays with a very clean technique and generates a beautiful tone. He is a superb supportive accompanist, and the recorded balance of voice and lute is faultless.” — The Lute Society Magazine

Songs of Philip Rosseter, Part II

“Burris … plays with beautiful tone and is an absolutely first-class accompanist melodically, rhythmically and contrapuntally.”

“Johnson’s voice is light and clear, and his diction faultless.”

“The recording balance between the voice and the lute could not be bettered.” — The Lute Society Magazine

“Tim Burris and Timothy Neill Johnson perform these songs (and lute solos) with such grace and fluidity that it is as if they were one unit. Their playing and singing style are a perfect complement to Rosseter’s refined and charming songs. Johnson’s voice is warm and simple with perfect diction; Burris is a graceful and sensitive accompanist.” — Lute Society of America Quarterly

Concert reviews

“One was transported to the parlor of Samuel Pepys, Lawes’ contemporary, but somehow I don’t think the performances there would have been as professional, for all the famous biographer’s study of vocal trills. […] The most impressive piece of the evening was a French cantata by Louis-Nicolas Clerambault (1676-1749) for chamber orchestra and tenor. The mini-opera depicted the tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe, the model for ‘Romeo and Juliet.’
“As sung by Johnson, it was surprisingly intense, with a musical depiction of emotion that seemed well in advance of its time.” — Portland Press-Herald

“Sor, a Spanish composer who worked mostly in Paris, was one of the most formidable guitarist-composers of his day, matched (and in some ways bettered) only by Mauro Giuliani, an Italian composer who spent the main years of his career in Vienna. Both were represented here by groups of rarely heard songs, which benefited from Johnson’s lithe tone and commanding sense of style.”
“Johnson and Burris also performed four French songs from “Premier Recueil d’Airs Choises,” a 1762 collection by a composer identified only as “Mr. Godard.” These have some appealingly peculiar touches – the sudden leaps into the tenor’s top range, in “Menuet de M. Valois,” for example, or the contest between extroversion and subtlety in “Ah, le Charmant Berger” – as well as elegant guitar accompaniments..” — Portland Press-Herald

Timothy Burris

CD reviews


on baroque lute, archlute, and theorbo

“Lutenist Timothy Burris, who teaches at Colby College and the Portland Conservatory of Maine, has chosen a collection of passacaglias and ciacconas spanning the middle to late Baroque that ably demonstrate the genre’s potential and his skill as performer. […] Burris, a well-seasoned performer, presents these works with a clean and clear technique that allows compositional brilliance to stand in the forefront.” — Early Music America, Summer 2013

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Lagrime Mie

with Jennifer Lane, mezzo

“This is a very attractive recording… Timothy Burris’s accompaniments on theorbo are superb, and his two solo tracks whet the appetite for more–he is deserving of a full recital disc from PGM. … Warmly recommended.” — Fanfare

Concert reviews

“One perceives in him a distinguished musicality and a depth of artistry, which join with a solid and finely shaded technique to produce sonorities strongly evocative of the princely courts.” — La Semaine d’Anvers

“Timothy Burris’s … performance of Piccinini’s Passacaglia was sensitive and impressive… He controlled the theorbo with precision befitting a seasoned master.” — The Virginia Gazette

“Burris, who has recorded some of Weiss’s work side by side with Bach’s lute music, made a strong case for [Weiss] with his warm-toned performances of the Fantasia, Allemande and Gavotte from Weiss’s Suite No. 11.
“I wish he had played the entire suite.” — The Portland Press Herald

“Burris demonstrated the flexibility of the instrument’s dynamics – as well as his own deftness at making melody lines ring out clearly over busy accompaniments, as if they were played on a second instrument – in expressive, shapely renderings of the “Marche Funèbre” from Fernando Sor’s 1836 “Fantaisie Élégiaque” (Op. 59), and a familiar Sor study, “Lesson No. 23” (from Op. 31, 1828).” — The Portland Press Herald (Review of a concert played on a Richard Berg copy of Antonio Torres’ FE17 (1864). The original was owned and played for over 20 years by Francisco Tárrega)

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“As he often does, Burris sidestepped the obvious choices and offered a few rarities instead – transcriptions from Lully operas (“Logistille,” from “Roland,” and “Chaconne des Herlequins,” from “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”) and a miscellaneous chaconne, all played gracefully and with attention to the balance between the delicate top lines and the robust accompaniments played on the theorbo’s open bass strings.” — The Portland Press Herald

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