Notes & Reviews:
A celebration of Italian Renaissance lute music, this release showcases a variety of composers, from the well known (such as Palestrina and Da Milano) to some now faded into obscurity, and introduces the listener to all forms of lute music that were in vogue during that period: ricercares, dances, madrigals and villanellas. The innovation to be found in this music is extraordinary: instrumental music from this period was designed to imitate the human voice, evident in many of the pieces included here, with intricate polyphony echoing the vocal madrigals, and ever-sophisticated ways of writing in turn led to new forms (the ricercar and canzona), creating a new type of instrumental language. The line between vocal and instrumental music thus became far more blurred in this period: it was even common for vocal works, such as madrigals, to be played rather than sung. The lute consort, the focus of this release, was one of the highest courtly expressions of ensemble music, best revealing the potential of the instrument and offering a voiced reconstruction of one of the most exclusive ambiences of ancient palaces. The Quartetto di Liuti da Milano have delved into a variety of sources to extract these musical gems. Extensive research is the foundation of their interpretations, and they are also proud to perform on instruments modelled carefully after their Renaissance equivalents. Concentrating exclusively on Italian Renaissance and early Baroque music, the quartet was established in 2012, and the musicians have already been praised in Amadeus magazine for their "liveliness" and "quality of expression". Other information: Sources for all the pieces. The quartet is supported by the Fondazione Marco Fodella.
American Record Guide, July/August 2015
The goal of the Milan Lute Ensemble (Quartetto di Liuti da Milano) is "to research the potential of the lute in an ensemble, up until now rarely explored". There's such a nice back-and forth dialog among the lutes here, all very well captured in the recording, where the full stereo spectrum is used. 14 composers are represented, with Milano, Gastoldi, Guani, and Viadana among them. A few of the 21 pieces are instrumental elaborations (diminutions) on well-known madrigals by composers such as Rore and Arcadelt. Some pieces are played on two lutes or solo lute, and the repertoire is well chosen and sequenced.
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