Whoever said that there is nothing new under the sun was wrong (if this somehow offends deities or prophets, I take it back).
A singing classical guitarist, who isn't singing pop songs at weddings but actually singing legit repertoire (Dowland, Giuliani, Tedesco), that's something new. Granted, anyone who has been to a masterclass has had to listen to players and teachers alike sing lines from Turina and Bach, but usually in a pained falsetto and hardly would they be confused with Pears or Pavarotti.
But Matthew Hinsley, on Passions Move, actually sings and to good effect. Even to the point of taking on the affect of the period he is singing from, whether it be Dowland's plaintive, Elizabethan clarity or the pseudo-operatic musings of Giuliani.
The Dowland is without doubt the most successful performance on the disc.
Hinsley's clear voice works perfectly on these reflective, melancholy, sappy and wonderfully self-involved tunes. His vocal sensitivity and obvious guitaristic ability shine through and surely must be quite an effective presentation when seen live.
For once, I have actually found some agreeable Catelnuovo-Tedesco (CT) Vogelweide, Opus 186. It just needed words. But I quickly realized that the words were Walter von der Vogelweide's (WvdV), the famed Meistersinger of the late middle ages. One wonders if they were WvdV's melodies, too. CT aside, these songs rival the Dowland as the most successful on the disc. Granted, they might not all speak to concerns of today (Papal taxation) but with themes of love and god and the superiority of German women they strike close to home.
The playing is delightful for, for once, the guitarist is listening to the singer and vice-a-versa. The shadings of musical color and vocal color, vocal rubato and guitaristic rubato, and all other common musical tools are perfectly synchronized.
Which means, I suppose, that there are two new things under the sun: a classical guitarist that sings and a singer that listens to his guitarist.