Album: Hille Perl, Lee Santana, Dorothee Mields, Dowland: In Darkness Let Me Dwell (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

It might not be evident in Sting's versions, but the music of the 16th-century composer John Dowland involved an appreciation of the way despair could be surmounted by its transformation into melancholy artistic expression.

That shines through the "Seven Shades of Melancholy" captured in these 15 interpretations by lutenist Lee Santana and a consort of viola da gamba led by Hille Perl, with soprano Dorothee Mields giving full account of the "despaire, griefe and sorrowe" in Dowland's lyrics.

Pick of the album:'From Silent Night', 'Come Heavy Sleepe', 'In Darkness Let Me Dwell'