Dowland • Kapsberger • Piccinini • Visée • Ignaz • Biber

COMPOSERS: Biber,Dowland,Ignaz,Kapsberger,Piccinini,Visée
LABELS: Channel
ALBUM TITLE: Masters of the Lute
WORKS: Works by Dowland, Kapsberger, Piccinini, Visée, Ignaz & Biber
PERFORMER: Matthew Wadsworth (lute, theorbo)
CATALOGUE NO: CCS SA 24206 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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If Kapsbergers, courses and strascini sound to you more like a culinary experience than a musical one, then consider this selection of works by Masters of the Lute – an excellent introduction to the repertoire of the instrument’s Golden Age. Matthew Wadsworth journeys across Europe explore a range of musical styles as well as the changing instrumental techniques and technologies that gave birth to the theorbo, the lute’s long-necked big brother. En route, he samples the dark-hued melancholy of John Dowland; the daring, experimental style of ‘the German of the theorbo’, Giovanni Kapsberger; sonorous dance suites by Robert de Visée, chamber musicians at the Court of Louis XIV; and a rare Passacaglia by the Bohemian composer Heinrich Biber. Wadsworth is an accomplished player, thoroughly at ease with the idioms of this challenging repertoire and technically a master indeed of his instrument. He underscores the brooding melancholy that characterises so much of this music, offering introspective, poised readings – at times, so hypnotically measured that the music’s forward momentum seems almost suspended. Cleanly articulated sound, recorded in rich detail.

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Kate Bolton