02 DEC 2022 - The art of the lute player – Avie AV0011.

Despite its title this is not merely another programme of lute music. Jacob Heringman, a distinguished lutenist, here shows his considerable technical and musical skills on three lutes, vihuela, cittern and renaissance guitar. His choice of repertoire springs from his particular love of sixteenth-century music and it includes many items by neglected composers, most of which have not been recorded before. There is an abundance of dances and fantasias, the staple diet of most lutenists, but Heringman also focuses on the important but generally overlooked area of intabulations, adaptations of vocal works for the lute and vihuela. Since the plucked-string instruments lack the sustaining power of the human voice the vocal lines were kept ‘alive’ by adding embellishments. The Hungarian lutenist Valentin Bakfark, few of whose works are now played, was especially productive in this field and many of his intabulations are punishingly difficult to play. The same applies to the Italian-born Alberto da Ripa, another important figure in his own time but unjustly neglected in ours. ‘Other men’s flowers’ may be displayed in simple arrangements; the Polish dances were probably arranged but not composed ;by the East-Prussian school master Matthäus Waissel.

This disc offers a unique variety of music, some of it rescued from undeserved oblivion, played on a matching variety of instruments and superbly recorded. The supple expressivity of the performances reflects Heringman’s love of the music. What more is there to be said, other than to urge anyone with an interest in this small but very lush musical pasture to buy it with our delay. John Duarte