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Classical - Released January 7, 2014 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles 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. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Chamber Music - Released July 6, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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 January 3, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
Jan Antonín Losy was born around 1650 of a prosperous Bohemian family. After the death of his father, the first Count of Losinthal, he inherited not only his title but also considerable wealth. He was therefore able to devote his life to music, and his skill as a lutenist became famous throughout Europe. Unlike professional players, Losy had no need to sell or publish his music but fortunately it has survived in numerous manuscript copies. Today we have almost 200 pieces by Count Losy, many of which once belonged together in larger suites or partitas. As a composer, Losy followed the example of French masters such as François Dufaut, but to this he brought a gift for Italianate melody, particularly in the many surviving arias, rondeaux and minuets. For this amply filled tribute to Losy, Jakob Lindberg has selected 36 pieces, grouping them into six suites. He performs them on his 16th-century lute by the German builder Sixtus Rauwolf – an instrument which in 1715 was given a new neck and ‘updated’ into an 11-course lute, the most important type of lute during Losy’s lifetime. © BIS Records
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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 March 1, 2006 | BIS

Right off the bat, when surveying the BIS disc Weiss Sonatas Played on the Unique 1590 Sixtus Rauwolf Lute, one wonders what took Jakob Lindberg so long to get around to recording Sylvius Leopold Weiss? After all, Weiss was regarded as the uncontested king of lutenists in his day, and his work as a composer represents the last major stage of forward development in lute repertoire before the instrument fell into disuse. Lindberg is one of the most stable and respected purveyors of lute music of our own time, his BIS releases stretching back into the mid-'80s. Certainly, Weiss and Lindberg would seem a combination readymade for a truly fulfilling musical experience, right? Yes, but Weiss' name above the title doesn't necessary translate into automatic success from a commercial standpoint -- even some listeners who fancy lute music itself aren't necessarily as familiar with his work as say, that of John Dowland, or for that matter Weiss' friend Johann Sebastian Bach. The "thrust" behind this collection is not the composer but the instrument, one of four surviving instruments made by luthier Sixtus Rauwolf in 1590 and put into optimum playing condition by a team of expert instrument restorers. This lute has a beautiful, creamy tone in the treble and a generous, ringing bottom almost worthy of a theorbo. It is certainly an instrument well suited to the music of Weiss, although some of these pieces needed a slight amount of editing to convert the 13-course sources in order to fit on the 11 courses of the Rauwolf. The selection of pieces is very well chosen, including the Sonata in A minor "L'Infidèle" and the remarkable Ciaccona in E flat, works that demonstrate Weiss' feelings about French and Italian practice, respectively. Weiss' music is like that of J.S. Bach in that it encompasses the regional influences within the greater of Europe of his day, but attempts to forge a single strand from them. Lindberg plays all of this music beautifully, the recording is warm and very close, yet BIS has wisely not attempted to tamper with the moderately quiet output of this lute by jacking it up in the mix; it is a very pleasing and natural recording. Weiss Sonatas Played on the Unique 1590 Sixtus Rauwolf Lute is a triumph to all concerned and should appeal to an audience outside the tiny community of lute nuts out there. If you're looking for something that is musically substantive to concentrate or chill out to, Weiss Sonatas Played on the Unique 1590 Sixtus Rauwolf Lute would be a wonderful choice. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | BIS

Booklet
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Classical - Released February 28, 1994 | 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. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 1, 1993 | BIS

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Classical - Released May 31, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released March 31, 2002 | BIS

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Chamber Music - Released August 31, 1994 | BIS

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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. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The subtitle of this album is "Jewels from Europe around 1600," and the "Jewels" could as well be applied to Emma Kirkby's voice and Jakob Lindberg's lute playing -- delicate but strong, beguiling, throwing off brilliant light. Kirkby's light soprano is ideal for this repertoire -- absolutely pure, but full of character and expressiveness, with a security that makes her singing sound effortless. She is well matched by Lindberg's playing, which is fleet and nuanced. He plays a sixteenth century instrument with exceptionally mellow tone that is thought to be the oldest lute still in use. Together, Kirkby and Lindberg draw the listener in as a companion with whom they are sharing precious intimacies. The songs and lute solos are eclectic, by English, Flemish, German, Italian, French, and Polish composers. The songs by the better-known English composers, such as Dowland and Morley, stand out for their expressiveness, but others, particularly the songs of Sigismondo d'India, are remarkable for their harmonic and vocal eccentricities, and the variety of the repertoire keeps the album consistently engaging. The sound of the SACD is clear and bright, and the balance between voice and lute is excellent. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 4, 2011 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The Orpheus in England title of this release refers to the fact that both John Dowland and Henry Purcell were honored with the "Orpheus" designation after their deaths, nearly 100 years apart. The booklet for this Swedish release even comes with an anonymous poem telling the deceased Purcell to "Touch but thy Lyre, the Stones will come and dance themselves into a Tomb." The unusual idea of connecting the two composers, who shared a common tendency toward a mixture of melancholy and daring harmonic thinking, works well, and there are many lovely moments here. Some come from lutenist Jakob Lindberg, who delivers limpid readings of some Dowland standards and arranges a group of Purcell keyboard pieces for lute. This neither damages the music, nor would have seemed odd to a household musician of Purcell's time, and the lute reveals the unusual voicings in little pieces like Lilliburlero and A New Scotch Tune (tracks 23-24). The star of the show is veteran British early music soprano Emma Kirkby, who for her legion of British fans can do no wrong. She's still got it as she enters her seventh decade in terms of building up a profound dramatic structure in a serious piece; Dowland's In darkness let me dwell (track 14) and Purcell's From silent shades or Bess of Bedlam (track 27) are extremely compelling. In general she does very well with the Purcell pieces, mostly dramatic excerpts from stage works. In the simpler Dowland lute songs her voice sounds a bit thick, but she still has star quality to burn. The biggest complaint is not with either of the performers, but with BIS' sound, recorded in a Swedish church that swallows up the music and overemphasizes instrument noise from Lindberg's tremendously interesting lute from the year 1590, perhaps the oldest lute in existence with its original soundboard. Recommended for Kirkby fans. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 31, 1987 | BIS