Bach/Gaultier/Kellner

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COMPOSERS: Bach/Gaultier/Kellner
LABELS: RLT
WORKS: Suite in C; Suite in G; Suite in D; Fantasy in C major; Fantasy in A minor
PERFORMER: Robin Thodey (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-4 DDD (Distributed by Brian Griffin on 0524 846446)
Around 1660, at the height of his powers, Denis Gaultier was the most celebrated lutenist-composer in France. Later, as the lute was eclipsed in popularity by the harpsichord then replaced altogether by the guitar, Gaultier’s name faded from history. Today his music is rarely heard, which, to judge by the two attractive suites on this CD, is a great pity. The suite of pieces in D comes from his most famous collection, La rhétorique des Dieux (1650) and reveals his gift for gently haunting tunes, most notable here in the reflective Pavane and a brief, poignant Sarabande. The suite in G, dating probably from the 1650s or 1660s, is no less appealing, with its rhythmically quirky Gigue and another dreamy, intricate Sarabande.

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Robin Thodey completes her recital with two short Fantasies by the Stockholm-based lutenist David Kellner and a fine version of the G major cello suite (BWV 1007) by his contemporary JS Bach, which she has transposed into C major for the lute. The disc is beautifully recorded, its intimate acoustic enhancing the restful quality of the music, though I did think Thodey’s rhythmic grip a little too relaxed at times. Graham Lock