Collection: Fantasia de Mon Triste

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Francesco Spinacino,Vincenzo Capirola & Francesco da Milano
LABELS: Metronome
WORKS: Renaissance lute music by Francesco Spinacino, Vincenzo Capirola & Francesco da Milano
PERFORMER: Christopher Wilson (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: MET CD 1025

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This is an excellent introduction to renaissance lute music – indeed, Spinacino’s Intabulatura (1507) was the first published collection of instrumental pieces. These ‘Intabulations’, scorings for the lute’s specialised notation (tabulature), are richly decorated transcriptions of songs, framed by recercari, fantasias with which lutenists checked their tuning and warmed up – much as folk musicians do today.

Spinacino’s are loosely wrought and improvisatory. Capirola’s are tauter, with greater harmonic purposefulness and crafted imitation between the parts, and he provides too a delightful contrast in a Padoana, a dancing pavan. Francesco, in turn, represents the highest point in this development of the 16th-century lute, notably in a sequence of pieces on a familiar song of the day, ‘De mon triste desplaisir’, and the subsequent Fantasia de mon triste.

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Christopher Wilson is an outstandingly persuasive advocate of this refined and distant repertoire, with the cleanest of techniques and heartfelt sensitivity to phrasing. Recorded sound is wonderfully rich – close, but concealing extraneous finger-sliding noise. Tim Crawford’s booklet notes introduce us with refreshing clarity to this ‘dream-like interlude in reality, a moment of reverie…’. George Pratt