The Press York
There was a hushed, attentive atmosphere, as lutenist Hopkinson Smith opened this recital (Thursday, National Centre for Early Music) with two thrilling fantasias by the Spanish vihuelist Luys Milan.
A captivated audience was hugely rewarded, as Mr Smith wove together the most intricate tapestries of song, virtuoso passages and, in the pavanes, dance. The playing of both the Milan collections were faultless, attention detail simply impeccable.
The second half belonged to the Italian lute maestro Francesco da Milano. And Hopkinson Smith treated us to another virtuoso display of early 16th-century lute music. Here, the dancing rhythms and sheer energy, musical dialogue and, indeed, drama, were impeccably delivered. Everything about the performer radiated intelligent music-making of the highest order. This included a pavane ‘reconstruction’ by Mr Smith which breathed authenticity. Even the tunings were a delight.