Notes and Editorial Reviews
Lute Pieces: in A and D; 4 Fantasies
José Miguel Moreno (lt)
GLOSSA 920112 (60:51)
David Kellner (c.1670–1748) is one of those musicians whose peripatetic life is best understood against the backdrop of the turbulence of the 18th century. Born in a small town near Leipzig, he may have interacted with Sebastian Bach, yet Kellner left Leipzig (and Germany) for good around 1713 when he entered the Swedish military. Because Bach didn’t assume his position as Kantor in Leipzig until 1723, it’s
highly unlikely that they knew one another, other than by reputation. After Leipzig, Kellner spent the next 10 years caught up in the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia; once discharged, he traveled extensively throughout the Baltic region, eventually assuming the post of carillonneur (his main instrument) at the German church of St. Jacob in Stockholm, where he remained until his death.
were published in Hamburg in 1747. There is some mystery surrounding these pieces, since Kellner was not known as a lutenist. Perhaps the pieces were an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the lute, which continued to be in vogue among German musicians into the early 1800s. The music itself is a rather odd mix of old-style French
; scanning down the titles one finds sarabandes, chaconnes, and gavottes cheek-to-jowl with freely composed fantasies in the manner of Emanuel Bach.
Receipt of this CD was an occasion for me to reflect on the Spanish classical label Glossa and its impressive array of early-music recordings on period instruments. Founded in the mid ’90s by Carlos Céster and José Miguel Moreno, the label boasts an imposing roster of artists, including Wilbert Hazelzet, Paolo Pandolfo, Frans Brüggen, Hervé Niquet, Roberta Invernizza, Enrico Gatti, Erich Hoeprich, Patrick Cohen, and many others. It is Spain’s outstanding classical label, certainly one of Europe’s finest. The label’s production values are consistently top-notch, with state-of-the-art engineering and authoritative annotations in multiple languages.
José Miguel Moreno has contributed his share of memorable recordings to the list; I remember in particular a CD titled
De Occulta Philosophia
, a fascinating disc that explored Bach’s love of numerology and the occult. Here, his renditions of Kellner’s music are smooth, refined, and expressive. As presented by Glossa’s engineers, the sound of Moreno’s self-constructed 11-course Baroque lute is intimate and lifelike. An absolutely gorgeous disc, and for any fan of the Baroque lute, well-nigh indispensable.
FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen
Works on This Recording
Fantasy for Lute no 2 in A minor by David Kellner
José Miguel Moreno (Lute)
Date of Recording: May, 2011
Venue: Estudio Isla Blanca, Navacerrada, Spain
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