Masters of the Baroque Guitar

Author: 
John Duarte

Masters of the Baroque Guitar

  • Fandango
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Alemanda, 'La Preciosa'
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Canciones
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Canarios I
  • Pavanas
  • (La) Muzette de M. Forqueray
  • Armoniosi concerti
  • Preludio
  • Ciaconna
  • Suite
  • Ruggiero
  • Corrente
  • Passamezzo
  • Aria di Firenze
  • Fandango
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Alemanda, 'La Preciosa'
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Canciones
  • Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra espan, Canarios I
  • Pavanas
  • (La) Muzette de M. Forqueray
  • Armoniosi concerti
  • Preludio
  • Ciaconna
  • Suite
  • Ruggiero
  • Corrente
  • Passamezzo
  • Aria di Firenze

The 'baroque' guitar was a curious instrument, smaller than today's instrument and having a less pronounced waist, with five pairs of strings whose variable tunings create aural ambiguities, and which manages to sound self-sufficient despite its lack of a true bass. It is impossible to reproduce the sound and textural effect of the five-course ('baroque') instrument on the modern guitar, though much of its music has been convincingly translated to it; the differences are better conveyed by the ear than the reading eye, which is one good raison-d'etre for this recording. The instrument flourished mainly in the Mediterranean countries and to a lesser extent in England; Francesco Corbetta, perhaps the most cultured of its composers, gave lessons to King Charles II of England, to whom he dedicated a book of his best music. Corbetta (ne Corbetti) was Italian, as were also Pellegrini and Calvi, but worked as a court musician in France, also the home of De Visee (another employee of King Louis XIV); the others in this recording were Spanish.
The five-course guitar was not a suitable receptacle for profoundly serious music, and its repertory contains a high proportion of dances (courtly and popular) and character pieces; those of Sanz are the most uncommon and colourful. Elaborate strums were part of the instrument's 'armoury', on limited display here, in a programme that concentrates more on the punteado (lute-like) style than the rasgueado (strummed). It is a small sound-world of pleasing miniatures, one which detours from music history's main paths, and in which Mason is the accomplished guide, supported by excellent recording and (his own) annotation. If you're not addicted to larger-scale music and sound, try it.'

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