Five hundred years ago, a humble lute student by the name of Vidal recorded his master's compositions in a hand-drawn tablature book. Well aware of the ill-fate befalling musical masterpieces with the passage of time and generations, he decided to embellish the book's pages with fantastic hand-painted scenes - "so that even the unlearned man, seduced by its visual beauty, may preserve it and pass it on intact."
It is thanks to Vidal's foresight that today this precious manuscript survives, along with the sublime music it contains. And this CD is one of the absolute best performances of it I have heard.
Paul O'Dette chose three composers to represent early Northern Italian lute output: along with Vidal's master (Vincenzo Capirola, dated around 1517), there is the music from the two earliest surviving printed lute tablature books - Francesco Spinacino and Joanambrosio Dalza (1508).
This early lute music is extremely diverse and fascinating, and O'Dette does it full justice in both piece-selection and interpretation. Dalza is best known for his bold dances, which show a strong influence of when the lute was played with a plectrum rather than picked with the fingers. Spinacino stands out for his fiery ricercari, with alternating fast single-note runs and brief counterpointal meditations. But it is Capirola and his vast tapestry of colors that gets the lion's share in this CD (dances, ricercari, vocal pieces set for lute).
Words cannot describe how expressive and varied this music is. Listen to tracks 4 (Ricercare primo), 7 (Padoana bellissima) and 8 (Spagna seconda) to get a sense of the confidence and the maturity that this style had achieved by the early 16th Century.Read more ›
I've been a fan of Paul O'Dette since he first exploded on the Early Music scene. I had an LP of him playing the same music on this CD. It never gets old, never tiring. Music of this period is very enjoyable for me. Paul's talent is simply amazing.
I bought this CD mostly because of the relatively large number of pieces by Dalza. Having heard one piece by him, I was hungry for more. But the rest of music on the disc is just as desirable. This is a lovely recital and very well recorded. Certainly a must for Paul Odette's many fans.
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