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This CD presents Italian music for the later designs of lute, in assured performances by a player of long professional experience. The music is found in sources which mark the beginning and end, respectively, of the Italian baroque in lute playing: three pieces by Kapsberger from his Libro Primo (1611) played on a ten-course lute, seven pieces by Piccinini from his prints of 1623 and 1639; four from Pietro Paolo Melii’s books of 1614, 1616 and 1620, and from a century later, three sonatas in 14 movements from the very last Italian tablature publication for lute, Zamboni’s book of lute sonatas of 1718. The Piccinini, Melii and Zamboni are played on a 14-course archlute.

The rhapsodic and innovative works of Kapsberger and Piccinini, revolutionary and fantastical when compared to 16th-century lute music, are the core repertoire for extended- neck lutes and often recorded; so it is good for the less well-known Melii to have an outing here; his Capriccio (track 14) has remarkable harmonic changes and chromatic passages. Zamboni brings us back to the more familiar musical language of the high baroque: dance suites, full of sequences, and an easy charm. Croton plays with a strong, immediate sound, and (unlike many lute players who struggle to maintain legato at all times!) his interpretations dare to make use of marcato and even staccato for rhetorical effect.

Christopher Goodwin Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing