This is an excellent disc of early Baroque lute music by two of the era's greatest composers for the instrument. Both Italian and active in the late 16th- and early 17th Centuries, between them Kapsberger and Piccinini (among others) moved the lute and theorbo forward from the modal delicacy of the Renaissance toward the contrapuntal complexity of the Baroque era. The music of both is full of melodic and harmonic invention and is fabulously enjoyable to listen to. The music here is all played on theorbo, a type of lute with added long bass strings, and the sheer beauty, depth and resonance of its sound makes the music glow all the more.
The musicians here play it all beautifully. All three have now become established stars of the early music scene and their treatment of the pieces here is excellent. There is some almost Flamenco-like fire in places, quiet contemplative beauty in others and also some lovely, rhythmic arpeggiated pieces which seem to me to be faint precursors of some of Bach's preludes for keyboard or cello. The programme is varied with solo theorbo and ensemble pieces, and it makes a delightful disc to play from beginning to end, never growing dull or same-y.
The recorded sound is excellent and the notes very interesting, making this an all-round gem of a disc, I think. I love it and recommend it very warmly.
(You may also be interested in an excellent disc of Kapsberger played by the wonderful Paul O'Dette Kapsberger - Lute Works
, and a terrific double CD of Piccinini on Brilliant Classics Piccinini - Lute Works
- both favourites of mine.)