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Two Lutes / Ronn McFarlane, William Simms

Johnson / Marchant / Mcfarlane / Simms
Release Date: 07/31/2012 
Label:  Sono Luminus   Catalog #: 92155   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Johnson
Performer:  Ronn McFarlaneWilliam Simms
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Sono Luminus is proud to release Two Lutes: Lute Duets from England’s Golden Age, a wonderful collection of enchanting music performed by lute virtuosos Ronn McFarlane and William Simms.

As stated by Ronn McFarlane, “Elizabethan lute duets yield the most companionable and friendly kind of music-making for the players. In equal duets each lutenist plays nearly the same music, alternating playing the melody and the harmonic accompaniment. It feels like a conversation, with each lutenist posing musical questions and answers throughout. Each player is free to improvise upon the written part, so the conversation can be very individual and spontaneous! On the other hand, in the treble-ground style of lute duet, one lutenist plays a
Read more single line melodic part (usually including some virtuosic passages) while the second lutenist plays a chordal accompaniment. Sometimes the chordal accompaniment is very simple and repetitive, and it is likely that a skilled player would vary his part to make a more musically satisfying accompaniment.”

R E V I E W S:

"Casual pronouncements are made every so often that the lute songs of Elizabethan England were the pop music of their day. The lutenist is said to be the 16th-century version of the guitar hero — a solitary character who played in courts and developed a moody, quixotic reputation. Movies and popular culture have portrayed lutes as being for the odd county fair minstrel, or the hapless suitor serenading a fair maiden.

But lute music wasn’t entirely a solo pursuit. During the high English renaissance (roughly 1570-1620) composers wrote more than 80 works for lute duet. In these, each lutenist plays nearly the same music, alternating between melody and accompaniment. On "Two Lutes," the lutenists Ronn McFarlane and William Simms recapture nearly 30 of these duets, most of which are seldom performed today...

About one-third of the songs on the collection come from the pen of John Johnson, England’s Royal lutenist, who served Queen Elizabeth I during the first years of her reign. They include the scampering “Trenchmore,” the reflective “The Delight Pavan,” and the rollicking “The Queen’s Treble.” Also featured are several songs by Thomas Robinson, a Danish court composer who projected the inward, melancholic quality of the instrument in songs like “Passemezo Galliard” and “A Plaine Song.”

The third major name on the album is the self-styled king of the lute, John Dowland, who is represented with two songs tinged with refined sadness. Rounding out the collection are some anonymous numbers including the ever-popular “Greensleeves.” However obscure the majority of this music is, Simms and McFarlane approach the recording with an air of warmth and accessibility."

-- WQXR, Album of the Week [July 29, 2012]
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Works on This Recording

Trenchmore by John Johnson
Performer:  Ronn McFarlane (Lute), William Simms (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Rogero by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Galliard to the Flat pavan by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Flat Pavan by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Dump for 2 Lutes no 1 by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Chi passa by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
A paven to delight by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Second Dump (The Queen's Treble) by John Johnson
Period: Renaissance 
The Nuts be Brown by John Johnson

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  5 Customer Reviews )
 Do you love this genre? January 1, 2013 By John Rathbun (Mills River, NC) See All My Reviews "Nice selection of tunes, well rendered by two masters of the instrument. Charming idiom. That said, you have to love the genre to spend very much time paying attention, given the limited palette." Report Abuse
 What's better than 1 lute? December 25, 2012 By Joan W. (Vancouver, BC) See All My Reviews "A new experience and new music for an instrument that I love. Beautifully played, good sound." Report Abuse
 Great Execution of Luts September 10, 2012 By Guering F. (West Orange, NJ) See All My Reviews "Excellent performance between Mssrs. McFarlane and Simms. The artistry and technical execution is self-evident." Report Abuse
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