Around 1600 the lute was one of the most popular instruments across Europe, and lutenists were held in high esteem. Their repertoire was versatile, from free forms such as the prelude and the fantasia, through dances to intabulations of vocal music and variations on popular songs. Lute music flourished in England, with John Dowland as one of its main representatives, but the Netherlands was also a centre of lute playing and lute composing. This had everything to do with the increase in wealth which resulted in an era which is known as the 'Golden Age'. Playing and singing music at home and in social gatherings was one of the main occupations of aristocrats and wealthy citizens of cities likeRead more Amsterdam, Haarlem and Leiden. This disc brings together pieces by some of the best lute composers of the early 17th century.
The programme begins with six pieces from the so-called
Thysius Lute Book, called after its later owner, Jan Thijs. The collection is one of the largest in the world, including no fewer than 907 pieces. It was put together by Adriaan Joriszoon Smout, who studied at Leiden University and later became a prominent Calvinist clergyman, who as a pastor in Amsterdam came often into conflict with the authorities whom he attacked because of their liberal views. The book contains pieces from England, France and Italy as well as settings of Dutch folksongs. Most pieces are anonymous. The melancholic
Ick lijd' int hart pijn onghewoon is by a certain "Mr. David". This probably refers to David Janszoon Padbrué, member of a musical family from Haarlem. His uncle was Cornelis Thymenszoon Padbrué, a composer of mainly madrigals.
The wealth of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces also attracted foreigners. One of them was Nicolas Vallet from France, who settled in Amsterdam around 1613. Here he played a major role in cultural life. Among the most notable parts of his oeuvre are his lute quartets. They reflect his activities as a player at weddings and other festivities of wealthy citizens. He published four books with lute music, among them settings of all 150 Psalms on the melodies of the Genevan Psalter. His books contain many variations on popular tunes which were also used by composers like Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (keyboard) and Jacob van Eyck (recorder).
Onder de lindegroene, for instance, is best known in variations by Sweelinck.
The Netherlands took profit from the political and religious situation in the southern Netherlands. When the Spanish armies took Antwerp in 1585 composers of protestant conviction fled north. One of them was Joachim van den Hove, who settled in Leiden in 1593. Here he became a highly respected member of society who moved in the highest circles. The
Laeste Leijtsch Afscheyt bears witness to this as it was written for "Do. Martino Dalemio". This Martin Dalem is called
doctissimo, most learned, which suggests he was a professor at Leiden University. The
Galliarde for Adam Leenaerts (track 22) is further evidence of his stature as this was one of his wealthy students. Composers could never be sure of their status: Van den Hove's financial situation deteriorated to such an extent that in 1616 his properties were confiscated. He fled to The Hague, where he died in poverty. Many pieces by Van den Hove have been preserved. We find all the then common forms, like dances (
Almande, Gaillarde), free forms (
Preludium, Fantasia sexta) and arrangements of popular tunes (
Susanneken, Windeken). He also wrote his version of John Dowland's famous
Dowland was active not only in his own country, he also played in various places on the continent. One of them was the court in Wolffenbüttel, where he met Gregorio Huwet (or Huet), another emigrant from Antwerp. They played together and Dowland had a high opinion of his Flemish colleague. Anthony Bailes plays two
Fantasias, which show Dowland's influence. One of them (track 7) was included in
Varietie of Lute Lessons which was edited by Dowland's son Robert. In contrast to Huwet and Van den Hove Emanuel Adriaenssen converted to Catholicism and remained in Antwerp. The disc ends with three pieces from one of his three collections of lute music. Adriaenssen's fame spread across Europe; he also founded a lute school, and Van den Hove may have been his pupil. One last name needs to be mentioned: Diomedes Cato.
Favorito was included by Van den Hove in one of his lute books. Cato was an Italian lutenist who worked in Poland.
This disc pays tribute to an important part of the European lute repertoire of the late renaissance. The titles reflect the kind of music which was popular at the time. We are given an insight into the repertoire which was played among the affluent circles of society. The liner-notes are informative, but I would have liked the author to have given some information about the popular tunes included in the programme. It would have helped to understand the character of the various lute arrangements.
This omission doesn't spoil enjoyment of this disc, though. Anthony Bailes is one of the veterans of the renaissance and baroque lute, and has many superb recordings to his name. This CD is another gem, showing the full power of his musicianship. He catches the character of every single piece perfectly. The depth of Van den Hove's
Pauan Lachrimae comes off just as well as the lightness and whit of
Daer is een Leeuwerck doot ghevallen. His articulation and subtle treatment of dynamics contribute to the communication of this repertoire. The recording has exactly the amount of intimacy which this repertoire needs. In short, a delightful disc.
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International Read less
A Delightful Collection of Unfamiliar RepertoireApril 11, 2012By J. MacLeod (Cambridge, ON)See All My Reviews"The veteran lutenist Anthony Bailes plays superb short pieces for lute by a number of Netherlandish sources. The pieces are uniformly engaging and the playing is up to the highest standard. The recording quality is clear and realistic."Report Abuse