LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Bachelar, D
WORKS: The Bachelar’s Delight, Lute Music
PERFORMER: Paul O’Dette (lute)
The reputation of Daniel Bachelar has been eclipsed in recent times by that of the moody John Dowland, largely due to the lack of a modern performing edition of his work, as well as the music’s extreme technical demands. But tantalising glimpses of this star lutenist, a member of the elite circle of the Earl of Essex and Sir Philip Sidney, prompted Paul O’Dette to boldly go where no man has gone before. His explorations resulted in this premier recording, a labour of love and painstakin research revealing a composer of deep sensitivity and quirky individuality.


Bachelar’s language is a sort of musical ‘Franglais’, in which rhapsodic and intricately embellished melodic lines – very much in the Frence style – are grafted onto traditional English dance forms like the Pavan, Galliard and Almaine. Seemingly undaunted by this highly wrought and virtuoso writing, O’Dette manages to find the perfect balance between improvisatory freedom and subtle restraint. He scales the depths of Bachelar’s dolorous dances and offsets their dark hues by highlighting the music’s delicate tracery. His lustrous sound is beautifully captured in this resonant yet detailed recording. All in all, a significant contribution to our understanding of the Golden Age of English music. Kate Bolton