Naxos has collected its four volume traversal of the lute music into a handy slipcase. All the volumes are available singly, but you can also buy the four together as a quartet of excellence, presided over by Nigel North, the acknowledged hero of the hour. What follows is a reprise of two volumes already reviewed - volumes 1 and 3 - and a look at volumes 2 and 4.
…The Burwell lute tutor states: "[On] other instruments we sing, but on the lute we speak". That is exactly what Bailes does, and in a very eloquent manner.
The new solo album of Toyohiko Satoh, the 72 year old Japanese lutenist who is considered my many as one of the most influential lute players of the last century, presents a well-known repertoire of baroque lute music. Mr. Satoh was the first lutenist to record Bach’s lute music on LP in the 70s (Phillips). Now he returns to this music 40 years later, delivering a completely different rendering of these iconic pieces. His playing has been influenced much by his studies of traditional Japanese arts such as tea ceremony, No-theater and Zen meditation. So here we are presented a recording that draws from the deep silence within, from the awareness of everything in the universe being connected, and from the understanding of Bach’s music as a universal, almost superhuman symbol of completeness.
This new solo album of world-renowned Japanese lute master Toyohiko Satoh features music by the German baroque composer and lutenist Esaias Reusner (1639-1679), who published two volumes of compositions for solo lute. The pieces of this CD are taken from “Neue Lautenfrüchte”. Reusner’s style is as interesting as it is special and unusual, compared to works of his contemporaries. His pieces are mostly short, sober and pragmatic, showing a very clear and unostentatious attitude.
From the reign of Henry VIII and onwards, the lute and its practitioners enjoyed the patronage of the very highest English society. Henry played the lute himself, as did his daughter Elizabeth I, who during one period employed as many as five lutenists at her court. In 1603, when she was succeeded on the throne by James I, the tradition was maintained: with his appointment of John Dowland the king increased the number of royal lutenists, while his queen, Anne of Denmark, played the lute herself. This royal enthusiasm for the lute influenced the aristocracy, and an English style of lute music was established.