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Lute Music for Witches and Alchemists / Lutz Kirchhof


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Audio CD, March 21, 2000
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Lute Music for Witches and Alchemists / Lutz Kirchhof + Renaissance Lute Music + Early Venetian Lute Works
Price for all three: $26.73

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Product Details

  • Performer: Anthony Holborne
  • Composer: Antony Holborne, Johann Daniel Mylius, Nicolas Vallet, Matthaus Reymann, Athanasius Kircher, et al.
  • Audio CD (March 21, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00004S38O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,367 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Fairy Rownde for lute
2. Courante 1, for lute
3. Courante 2, for lute
4. Volte, for lute
5. Le secret des muses, lute book (2nd ed. of Secretum musarum): Battaille
6. Noctes Musicae, for lute: Chorea 1
7. Tarantella, for lute
8. Work(s): Unspecified Fantasia, for lute
9. Cancion del emperador, for vihuela
10. Baxa de contrapunto
11. Cancion in the 1st tone, after Nicolaus Gombert's Canzon, for lute
12. Diferencias (7) for guitar on 'Guárdame las vacas'
13. Muy Linda, for viol consort
14. Suite for lute in A minor
15. Suite for lute in A minor
16. Suite for lute in A minor
17. Suite for lute in A minor
18. Suite for lute in A minor
19. Suite for lute in D minor
20. Suite for lute in D minor
See all 30 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

The mellow German lutenist Lutz Kirchhof advises listeners not to turn the volume up too high on his latest Sony solo disc. The delicate lute tone charmed 16th- and 17th-century listeners by its simple acoustic beauty. The gentle plucked notes could affect the mood, altering one's emotional state. Kirchhof suggests that such potential made music invaluable to witches and alchemists, who were held in high regard in the irrational centuries before the Age of Enlightenment. This theory enables Kirchhof to make an eclectic selection of 30 short pieces covering 200 years and four different lutes--renaissance lute, vihuela, baroque lute, and theorbo. He does not claim that any of the items were actually put to any alchemical or satanic use, but he does not need to. The Presto and Galanterie by S. L. Weiss speak for themselves. Dufaut's Suite in A minor might not otherwise have reached the public; Hagen's Sonata in C minor would have remained obscure; and Holborne's The Fairy Round Galliard waited in vain for the revival of alchemy as a science. An eccentric disc all-round. --Rick Jones

Customer Reviews

Ficino, and the stars!
M. Hori
This is one you can listen to over and over and just enjoy it.
FHCook
The music selection is perfect.
Marilia A. da Silveira

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By M. Hori on January 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sorry folks, but the title of this CD might be a bit misleading. You will not hear Halloween sound effects, or "A Night on Bald Mountain" Disney-style. Instead you will be treated to meditative music based on the theories of Ficino, Agrippa, and others. Kirchof does us all a favor by fleshing out what has previously been locked away in archives and rare publications and allowing us to hear each composition as it was originally meant to be heard. A good book to buy with this CD would be D.P. Walker's classic Spiritual and Demonic [as in Socrates' daemon, not the kind from the uh-oh place] Magic (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000). This music is meant to heal and not to hurt; meant to uplift and enlighten the mind and not to drown it in darkness. And besides all that folks, it's just plain pleasant to drink wine and eat cheese to. In addition, Lute Music For Witches and Alchemists has great liner notes that give the low-down on each Hermetic ditty. M & M it's not, thank Plato, Plotinus. Ficino, and the stars!
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I can't agree with the above reviewer, whose dislike of this CD seems out of proportion. I too have a huge collection of lute records built up over the years, and used to play the lute (though not well enough for the public stage). Therefore I also have a strong basis of comparison between this and other similar works, and can't see what such negative judgment is based upon. The repertoire itself? This album contains a good representation of the periods it covers, the playing is exquisitely clean and spirited, the recording quality is clear with a "big" sound, and the instruments Kirchhof uses are obviously high-quality ones, with both resonance and brightness. I can't make the adjective "sad" compute at all, and wonder if the local 11-year-old's expectations were influenced by other more familiar types of music? Renaissance and baroque lute take some getting to know. They are not the sort of thing kids are over-exposed to, and must compete in their minds with a lot of more popular forms. In fact there is plenty of life in this beautifully played 73-minute album. Hear it and judge for yourself.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Phenomenal lute playing, top rate. Repertoire is fantastic. Lutz is well-named, as he has the true spirit of the lute in his hands. This CD has not left my CD player. Most everyone who hears it wants a copy. I've bought 4 copies already.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marilia A. da Silveira on December 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I cannot agree with only one star, too. This CD is very beautiful! The music selection is perfect. Kirchhof plays the lute exquisitely. And the music is not sad. Instead I felt a kind of happiness at the first time I heard it. I feel very well when I hear this CD.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stevelvis on July 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD
From the title you might expect this CD to contain spooky and other-worldly Halloween music but you'd be mistaken. Lute Music for Witches and Alchemists is a collection of solo instrumental lute music composed during the 1500s-1700s expertly played by Lutz Kirchhof. The lute, which closely resembles the modern acoustic guitar, was the main European musical instrument for hundreds of years. The "witches" of the title refers to the wise women of the era who often acted as midwives and practiced folk medicine using the ancient knowledge of herbs as well as music and dance to help their patients. The superstitions and fears of ignorant people along with the Church's greed for wealth and power caused the rejection of the healing knowledge as witchcraft and the scapegoating of the women as witches.

The CD booklet notes that "Witches and wise women used dance music for secret celebrations and healings" and that "Alchemists were prone to bouts of melancholy on account of their lonely occupation" and offers "music for the recreation of the spirit." Titles include "The Fairy Round" and "Battaille (from Le Secret des Muses)" and several selections are dedicated to the four elements: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. "Tarantella" is a song described by the composer as a "Musical remedy against the venom of the tarantula" and "Chorea 1 (from Noctes Musicae)" is described as "A little dance which those sick from the bite of the tarantula or spider especially like to hear" (Anthanasius Kircher). Other titles "seem to have been composed in the spirit of apocalyptic witch or death dances."

If you're looking for scary modern Goth tunes, the next Bauhaus, or something for your "Charmed" TV Witch, this isn't it.
Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a wonderful selection of period lute pieces, very soothing to listen to, very exquisitely played. Even friends of mine who have no interest in period music find it enjoyable and ask me about it.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sir Cecil on June 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Kirchhof invariably finds interesting repertoire to entice us, but just as his jangly Bach pales next to North's, and his Weiss can't compare to Smith's, here he ends up trailing again.
While this disc might be attractive to newcomers to the lute and its magical attractions, I am sure that most who are familiar with the skills and taste of the other aforementioned artists will know that plenty of the music on this disc can be found, sounding better, elsewhere.
There's nothing bad about this disc, but nothing special, either.
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