Intabulated vocal music forms one of the largest sections of the early lute repertoire. During the first decades of the 16th century such intabulations were given powerful stimulus by the invention of music printing, with the pioneering Ottaviano de Petrucci in Venice opening up new markets. Such publications not only played an important role in the rapid development of lute and vihuela techniques, but also provide a valuable source of information today. This is particularly true of Josquin, who as one of the most popular composers of the day was a favourite choice among lutenist composer/performers. As David Fallows explains in an excellent note accompanying the present disc, the large number of lute intabulations of Josquin’s works has helped to fill out our hazy knowledge of the composer, at times even assisting in the authentication of his works.

American lutenist Jacob Heringman’s selection culled from this rewarding and neglected repertoire includes both sacred and secular works played on two 6-course lutes and a vihuela. The transcriptions include a number of works that will be familiar to late-Renaissance enthusiasts, among them the chanson Faulte d’argent and extracts from the Missa Pange lingua. In general terms the secular transcriptions tend to be based on a relatively simple chordal style with added divisions. The intabulations of the sacred works are more complex, with as many as six parts skilfully woven into beguiling textures by craftsmen such as Vincenzo Capirola and Alberto de Ripa, the beautiful broken chord treatment by the latter of the 6-part motet Benedicta es being one of the highlights of the disc. Heringman’s playing, recorded with vivid immediacy, is both musically sensitive and technically highly accomplished. Strongly recommended.

BRIAN ROBINS

Goldberg, Winter 2000