I don't know if this will play on PBS again, but it's available on a DVD. If you can watch it, please do since it's beautiful. Sting embraces and explores the Elizabethan songs written by John Dowland - he calls him the first "English Singer/Songwriter." It's fascinating to see the interaction and passion the musicians and singers have for the history and music.My breath was snatched when I saw the backdrop. It was filmed at Lake House, Sting's 16-century manor house in Wiltshire, and in the ancient gardens of Il Palagio, his home in Italy.
The man has a labyrinith in his backyard!! I never cared too much for labyrinths (can't even spell the bloody word properly!) because I've seen films like "Dracula" and "Harry Potter," which have enforced the eerieness of mazes. These are frightening because you must go forward though you don't know what lies ahead. You feel like a mouse scrambling around a maze, hoping to find a cheese in the middle or at least freedom.
However, Sting is a brilliant man in that he created claustrophobic-friendly labyrinth. It's cut low and is wide and open. He strolls around and around it. If you get tired of the circular walk, you can walk across it and go home. One of Sting's musician friends commented how calming it was to walk behind Sting across this type of labyrinth. He was so inspired by it, he bestowed the lute with the carved labyrinth to him, which led to this new album.
Anyway, it's an absolutely beautiful show - complete with romantic settings in Europe from the castles to the woods, the talented musicians and one incredibly talented Sting.
By the way, I've seen Sting in concert back in the 90's - I think it was "Soul Cages" and "Dream of Blue Turtles" tours. What I used to love about watching him perform live was his passion for music. He'd gather up his band and they'd start jamming on stage. Didn't matter hundreds of people were there - they were having fun. That kind of passion for what you do is absolutely sexy.
I'm also captivated by good lyrics. When I was younger, I had to reach for the dictionary for a line from "Synchronicity" - "Mephistopheles is not your name." I looked up "synchronicity" while I was it. And, I wouldn't have read "Lolita" were it not for Sting saying, "Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov" in "Don't Stand So Close to Me." That line would drive me crazy and even when I was reading it, it kept churning in my head.
Sting's low crooning on these Elizabethan songs gave me chills - his voice oscillates perfectly, swaying from a whisper to a bellow. He commented a few times about being a rock-n-roll singer, but this type of music suited him so well, you forget this was not his forte.
Perfect background music for an evening with good friends, sitting in front of a roaring fire, candles lit and swirling a glass of bordeaux.
If anyone has a 16th century castle, please do invite me.