The Forge Players were kind of a supergroup of Swedish string musicians. The quintet included members of several contemporary chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras as well as viola player Mikael Marin from the amazing folk band Väsen. In 1998, they released their only album, Flow my teares, which contains renditions of music by Renaissance master composer John Dowland.

In contrast to many versions of Dowlands music, and certainly so compared to the lute and voice setting for which the songs were originally written, The Forge Players’ interpretations are powerful, dark and sometimes quite heavy (as in What if I never speed?). Featured in a few songs each are singers Mikael Samuelsson and Freddie Wadling.

Samuelsson was at that time probably best known for doing the title part in the musical The Phantom of the Opera, in a production that ran in Stockholm for several years (I did actually see that show once). Freddie Wadling’s career began in several punk band in the 1970’s, and he went on to become one of the most unique singers in Sweden, performing avantgarde, rock, and many other genres, in bands like Cortex, The Flesh Quartet and Blue For Two, and as a solo artist. His a capella rendition of the title track on this album is just incredible!

Sadly, Freddie Wadling passed away yesterday at the age of 64.