Paul O'Dette

Composers

Biography

Born: February 2, 1954  
Few instrumentalists establish themselves with such firm authority as Paul O'Dette has on the lute. In fact, one writer described him as "the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument." In fact, O'Dette helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which twenty-first century performers of early music aspire. In doing so, he helped infuse the performance practice movement with a perfect combination of historical awareness, Read more idiomatic accuracy, and ambitious self-expression. "I remember when I first started playing the lute," O'Dette once recalled, "the common perception of Renaissance music was that it was kind of pre-expression -- that people didn't use dynamics, they didn't use tone colors.... [But] the more we've learned, we've realized that in fact all of these expressive devices were being used throughout the sixteenth century." O'Dette deserves much of the credit for bringing this aspect of early music to the fore of performance practice.

O'Dette's musical career can be traced at least back to high school, during which time he played electric guitar in a rock band. Frustrated with the lack of pedagogical consensus within the rock guitar world, and seeking a higher level of technical rigor and discipline, O'Dette took a friend's advice and sought out instruction from a classical guitar teacher in order to improve his rock playing. His first assignment under his new teacher was to learn some Renaissance lute pieces arranged for guitar. He was immediately transfixed by the sonorities of the Renaissance, and sought out recordings of the music on authentic instruments. Also, as luck would have it, his teacher had a kit-made lute that he had never learned to play, which he sold to his student. Over the next few decades, O'Dette's collection expanded to include over 20 instruments, including a lute, an archlute, a chittarone, and a Baroque guitar.

The expansion of his collection paralleled the development of his career as the world's foremost lutenist. In 1976, O'Dette became Director of Early Music at the Eastman School of Music. He has subsequently appeared on over 100 recordings, both as a featured performer and with such prestigious company as Nigel Rogers, Christopher Hogwood, Jordi Savall, Trevor Pinnock, and Gustav Leonhardt. Among his accolades are several nominations for "Record of the Year" for his highly-respected 1995 recording of John Dowland's complete works for lute; the next year his CD of Purcell songs, a collaboration with Sylvia McNair, won a Grammy.

Perhaps O'Dette's style can be described as deeply human. Crucial to his sound is his awareness of the ethnic and dance topics that figure into the music. The dance gestures that correspond-- albeit sometimes in only a stylized way -- to the musical figures, find expression in the contour and phrasing of O'Dette's lines. He makes another enlightening comparison as well, one based on writings contemporaneous to the music: "All of the sixteenth century sources say that the best instrumentalists are those who can make you believe you are listening to words -- that the best instrumental playing strives to imitate the voice in every way possible." This appealing (and historically informed) philosophy of performance and O'Dette's impeccable technique, have made his performance of early music a creative, rather than a curatorial, endeavor. Read less

There are 41 Paul O'Dette recordings available.

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Biography

Born: February 2, 1954  
Few instrumentalists establish themselves with such firm authority as Paul O'Dette has on the lute. In fact, one writer described him as "the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument." In fact, O'Dette helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which twenty-first century performers of early music aspire. In doing so, he helped infuse the performance practice movement with a perfect combination of historical awareness, Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
Overture
Scene 1: Renaissez, paraissez (Flore)
Scene 1: Marche des Bergers
Scene 2: Puisque Flore en ces lieux nous convie (Roselie, Bergeres)
Scene 2: Trio: Trop indiscrets Zephirs (Sylvandre) - Et vous, fontaines et ruisseaux (Un Berger)
Scene 2: Prelude pour animer les bergers au combat
Scene 2: Recitative: Lorsqu'un torrent enfle par un soudain orage (Amaranthe, All)
Scene 2: Recitative: La foudre menacant qui perce avec fureur (Forestan, All)
Scene 2: Menuet
Scene 2: Recitative: Des Heros fabuleux que la Grece a chantes (Hyacinthe, All)
Scene 2: Recitative: Louis fait a nos temps, par ses faits inouis (Mirtil, All)
Scene 3: Quittez, quittez Bergers, ce dessein temeraire (Pan, All)
Scene 3: Nous nous taisons: Pan nous l'ordonne (Roselie)
Scene 3: Bien que, pour etaler les Vertus immortelles (Flore, Pan)
Scene 3: Ballet: Bergers et Bergeres
Scene 3: Belles fleurs, tous les ans (Roselie, Amaranthe, All)
Overture
Act I Scene 1: Inventons mille jeux divers (Daphnee, Chorus)
Act I Scene 1: Ruisseau qui dans ce beau sejour (Enone, Arethuze)
Act I Scene 1: Compagnes fideles (Euridice)
Act I Scene 1: Qu'il se croira fortune (Daphne, Euridice, Chorus) ? Recitative: L'on ne goute point de plaisirs sans douleurs (Enone)
Act I Scene 1: Recitative: Soutiens-moi, chere Enone (Euridice, Orphee, Chorus) - Orphee, adieu, je meurs (Euridice)
Act I Scene 2: Ah! Bergers, c'en est fait (Orphee, Chorus)
Act I Scene 2: Entree de nymphes et de bergers desesperes
Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Lache amant, pourrais-tu survivre (Orphee)
Act I Scene 3: Recitative:Ne tourne point, mon fils (Apollon, Orphee)
Act I Scene 3: Recitative: Que d'un frivole espoir (Orphee) - Juste sujet de pleurs (Chorus)
Act II Scene 1: Affreux tourments (Ixion, Tantale, Titye)
Act II Scene 2: Cessez, cessez, fameux coupables (Orphee)
Act II Scene 2: Quelle touchante voix, quelle douce harmonie (Ixion, Tantale, Titye)
Act II Scene 2: Je ne refuse point le secours (Orphee) - Il n'est rien aux Enfers (Chorus)
Act II Scene 2: Les Fantomes
Act II Scene 3: Prelude - Recitative: Que cherche en mon palais (Pluton)
Act II Scene 3: Je ne viens point ici (Orphee) - Pauvre amant (Proserpine, Chorus)
Act II Scene 3: Euridice n'est plus (Orphee)
Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Le destin est contraire (Pluton, Proserpine) - Permets qu'elle revive (Ombres Heureuses)
Act II Scene 3: Tu ne la perdras point, helas (Orphee)
Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Quel charme imperieux (Pluton, Proserpine) - Courage Orphee (Chorus)
Act II Scene 3: Souviens-toi du larcin (Orphee)
Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Je cede, je me rends (Pluton) - Recitative: Amour, brulant Amour (Orphee)
Act II Scene 4: Vous partez donc, Orphee (Chorus, Ixion, Tantale, Titye) - Entree des Fantomes
Part I: Overture
Part I: Aria "Cor fedele" (Tirsi)
Part I: "Povero Tirsi" (Tirsi)
Part I: "Quell'erbetta" (Tirsi)
Part I: "Se il guardo" (Tirsi)
Part I: "Dubbia così" (Clori, Fileno)
Part I: Aria "Sai perché" (Fileno)
Part I: "Vezzoso pastorello" (Clori)
Part I: Aria "Conosco che" (Clori)
Part I: "Dunque sperando" (Fileno, Clori)
Part I: Aria "Son come quel nocchiero" (Fileno)
Part I: "Se altra pace" (Clori, Tirsi, Fileno)
Part I: Duetto "Scherzano sul tuo volto" (Clori, Fileno)
Part II: Duetto "Fermati!" (Clori, Tirsi)
Part II: "Creder d'un angue" (Tirsi)
Part II: Aria "Tra le fere" (Tirsi)
Part II: "Tirsi, mio caro Tirsi" (Clori)
Part II: "Pur cederti" (Tirsi, Clori)
Part II: Aria "Amo Tirsi" (Clori)
Part II: "Va, fidati" (Fileno)
Part II: Aria "Povera fedeltà" (Fileno)
Part II: "Non ti stupir" (Tirsi)
Part II: Aria "Un sospiretto" (Tirsi)
Part II: "Tirsi, amico e compagno" (Fileno)
Part II: Aria "Come la rondinella" (Fileno)
Part II: "Così felici" (Clori, Tirsi, Fileno)
Part II: Trio "Vivere e non amar" (Fileno, Tirsi, Clori)
Part I, Aria; Va col canto lusingando (Clori)
Part II, Aria; Barbaro! tu non credi (Clori)


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