Italian Lute Virtuosi of the Renaissance

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COMPOSERS: Aquila,Arcadelt,da Mantova,da Milano,Despres,Festa,Janequin,Passereau,Richafort & Sermisy,Rippe
ALBUM TITLE: Italian Lute Virtuosi of the Renaissance
WORKS: Works by Aquila, Arcadelt, Despres, Festa, Janequin, da Mantova, da Milano, Rippe, Passereau, Richafort & Sermisy
PERFORMER: Jakob Lindberg (lute)


Back in 2012 Jakob Lindberg saluted the chitarrone with a disc devoted to Castaldi, Kapsberger and Piccinini. Now he turns to its more compact cousin the lute and addresses another Italian trinity, giants of their age, who flourished in the first half of the 16th century: Francesco da Milano, Marco dall’Aquila and Alberto da Mantova.

While da Mantova enjoyed renown in the form of a salary double that of his colleagues at the French court where he ended his days, da Milano basked in the sobriquet ‘Il Divino’  – and the astrologer Luca Gaurico hailed him as ‘superior to Orpheus and Apollo’. Moreover writing in praise of the lute in 1536, Francesco Marcolini mentioned all three living lutenists in the same breath, commenting on their ‘suavity of sound’ that ‘robs the senses of those listening by making itself heard in the soul’.

Encompassing Fantasias and Ricercars, song intabulations and dances, Lindberg’s own ‘suavity of sound’ creates its very own soul music, especially in the Fantasias by da Milano that bookend the disc and are woven throughout. There’s a sense of eavesdropping on a spontaneous yet eloquently-argued soliloquy. Colouring is subtle, conversational banter deftly managed, and Lindberg’s tempos always feel spot on, allowing the music to breathe (as does the exemplary recording). He playfully scampers through dall’Aquila’s intabulation of Janequin’s Nous bergier, and summons up all due gravitas and poise for Josquin’s iconic Plus nulz regrets. A captivating conspectus of a golden age aglow with confidences and delights.

Paul Riley


Listen to an excerpt of this recording here…