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Classical - Released January 7, 2014 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica
This selection of English lute music stands out from the common run by virtue of a couple of features. First is the unusual lute played by Swedish performer Jakob Lindberg: made around 1590, and dated with dendrochronology techniques, it is "probably the oldest lute in playing condition with its original soundboard." Its gut strings do not produce the sweetest lute sound you've ever heard, but the sound has both character and variety. The second distinctive feature is the closely focused repertory, narrowed down to the Jacobean era at the beginning of the 17th century. The lute fits the concentrated, polyphonic quality of this music very well, and the recital as a whole, with the mood lightened only by some anonymous Scottish tunes that were brought in by the new king and his retinue, is unusually intimate and dense. The focus brings in some unusual composers, such as Thomas Robinson, Daniel Bacheler, and Cuthbert Hely, all of whom were formidable lutenists from the sound of it. For lute music this is a demanding hour-and-a-third of listening (somehow the BIS engineering team squeezed 81 minutes and 12 seconds of music onto a single CD), and Lindberg's energy and precision do not flag. Auditioned on a conventional stereo the recording was too close to Lindberg and contained too much extraneous noise; mileage may vary with other equipment.
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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released January 31, 1987 | BIS

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Classical - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
This is a bouquet of works for lute by Elizabethan and Jacobean composers, in the expert hands of Jakob Lindberg; the more famous are by Dowland, Byrd and Holborne, and the rarer works are by John Johnson, Daniel Bacheler and Edward Collard, without forgetting the most prolific writer of all time, "Anonymous". And so the track-list is already original enough; but Lindberg's big idea is to perform, as the central pivot of the album Nocturnal by Benjamin Britten, written in 1963 for the guitarist Julian Bream, but on the lute. With the authorisation of the Britten Foundation, of course, and making use of the composer's preparatory manuscripts; and given how much Britten loved the lute, we can easily imagine how much he would have applauded this translation from guitar to lute. And it is true that the more velvety, less brilliant, sound of the lute offers a new reading of the work, underlining both its modern and deliberately archaic sides. And so it is an excellent idea to juxtapose the 16th and 17th centuries with the 20th, given that Britten has already provided us such a beautiful bridge between them. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released April 30, 1995 | BIS

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Classical - Released September 2, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released May 31, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released August 7, 2012 | BIS

Booklet
The chitarrone was a large relative of the lute, at first nearly interchangeable with the more common theorbo. As the instrument developed in the 17th century, it acquired several sets of low strings and a repertory designed to exploit its varied capabilities: it could render operatic-type declamations with booming basses, polyphonic songs, dense ricercar-like constructions, and most commonly difficult variation sets that displayed its whole range. The instrument is an unwieldy thing (the example played here has 15 courses), and the number of people worldwide who can play it competently is not large. Swedish player Jakob Lindberg is equal to its challenges, and this album presents a good sampling of the instrument's Italian repertory from the early 17th century (Giovanni Kapsberger, though born in Germany, moved to Italy as a young man and adopted an Italian name). There are a few study-like pieces, such as the Arpeggiata from Kapsberger's Book I, but most of the music lives up to the promised virtuoso billing. Sample one of the larger ground bass pieces, such as the Romanesca con partite variate of Alessandro Piccinini (track 10) for the full effect. This was music that developed contemporaneously with the forerunners of opera in the salons of artistically interested members of the powerful Medici and Barberini families, and along with the fireworks there's a certain intellectual streak. It's visible in such pieces as Kapsberger's Colascione and the self-referential Kapsberger from Book 4 of his chitarrone pieces, published in 1640. Some of the more arcane devices involve fingering on the chitarrone; they're explained in the booklet but require focus for the general listener (toward whom this album is not really aimed). The BIS label does not help with its church engineering, which picks up extraneous instrument noises that an audience of Italian princes in a lushly appointed room would never have heard. Still, for those who love the lute and its relatives, this is a skilled examination of a fascinating and all-but-unknown repertory.
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Classical - Released February 28, 1994 | BIS

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Classical - Released August 31, 1994 | BIS

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Classical - Released May 1, 1993 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | BIS

Booklet
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Classical - Released January 31, 1987 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released January 31, 1987 | BIS

Originally released in 1982, this was among the first recordings of the rather unusual repertory it covers, and it helped kick off a period of wider interest in the various lute traditions of Europe. It still sounds good, right down to the failed politesse of the useful instruction in the booklet: "The listener is kindly requested TO DECREASE THE GAIN ON THE AMPLIFIER when listening to the lute. If not, all the nuances disappear and the resulting timbre is most incorrect." And it's true; the lute is a quiet instrument, and some of the problems with contemporary recordings of it result from levels that are too high all the way through the process. The joining of lute music from Scotland and France in the program is not arbitrary; the French style was the model for Scottish lute music of the seventeenth century, and there was a good deal of musical interchange. The Scottish collections, however, had their own style, drawing on the distinctive melodic content of Scottish folk song. Lindberg shows a clean, elegant style that nevertheless recognizes the fact that this was entertainment music, rooted in popular song (such as I long for thy virginitie from the Straloch Lute Book, track 2) and dance. The sound quality, right at the dawn of the CD era, is a bit cold, but the lute was essentially well-recorded. Notes are in Swedish, German, French, and English, with differences in word lengths in these languages made up simply by adjusting the line spacing as needed. On the design plus side, however, are some breathtaking photographs of Scotland.
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Classical - Released June 30, 1997 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 1987 | BIS