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Lassus: Io ti vorria contar... Transcriptions for Lute

Lassus: Io ti vorria contar... Transcriptions for Lute

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In that apogee of polyphonic vocal music, the 16th century, Roland de Lassus (Mons c. 1532-Munich 1594) is pre-eminent. So famous was he that by the time he was 34, Samuel Quickelberg had already written the biography of “the more than divine Orlando”, as the poet Ronsard called Lassus, and as early as 1560 had praised the fact that he regarded music and words as of equal importance. But beyond his mastery of polyphonic language, what clearly characterises Lassus is his ability to feel at home in all styles whether secular or sacred, serious or light-hearted. His impressive oeuvre, confined to the vocal domain, reveals a conception of music, which had long been cloistered and hierarchical. But the lute is an exceptional instrument with numerous special advantages: it is convenient to handle, easily transported, and able to play alone to accompany music in several parts at once; it can accompany singing or fit easily into ensembles. Thanks to its polyphonic capabilities, the lute can combine separately printed voice parts into vocal editions. Being the instrument of musical synthesis, the lute points the way to the development of instrumental music. In the Renaissance, lute music is divided into three groups: dance music, polyphonic vocal works in tablature form, and freer forms of music (fantasias or ricercars) often based on the same contrapuntal rules as vocal music. The recital in this CD illustrates all these different genres.

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