April 8th, 2008


Lute Festival in Regensburg (a Report)

On Friday my day started with picking up the rest of the swiss lute players to join this year's trip to the lute festival of the german lute society which took place in Regensburg.

We missed the first events due to a traffic jam which we regreted because Pietro Prosser played on a original Galichon. Knowing his playing from previous lute festivals I was very keen on listening to his playing - and the Galichon!
We also missed the lecture about the restauration of the instrument which followed the concert.

So instead we made our first experiences with franconian foot (and beer). Afterwards we were in best mood for the concerts of the evening.
So we first heart a recital by Bart Roose (from Brügge) who played music by Hans Newsidler on his entirely gut strung lute by Peter Van Wonterghem after Hans Frei. I tend to tell H. Newsidler's music "german" (with tongue in cheek). Bart's playing was fine, smooth and calm although he has choosen some of the demanding pieces from H.Newsidler's print from 1536. This recital offered a new look at Hans Newsidler's music. The reaction of several concert listeners prooved that Bart raised interest into this repertoire.

The final recital was by Lee Santana who played a mix of his own music, Dowland, Holborne and Francesco da Milano on Tenor-Lute, Cittern and Alto Lute. I liked the sound of his Alto lute by Ivo Magherini (although it was completly out of tune which made it hard to bear listening to Francesco's fine music).

We ended the evening at a very nice restaurant in Regensburg which was built in a gothic room.

The next day we started visiting the exhibition of instruments and music. I was so surprised and happy to meet Frank-Peter Dietrich and his wife who spontanous decided to show some of their instruments on the exhibition. Frank-Peter has built my very first lute and I have several of his instruments. Soon after the chat I detected Philippe Mottet-Rio who has built my new love: my new swan neck baroque lute.
I just said "Hello" to Beppo Kreisel as I saw an instrument on his table which raised my interest: A double-headed baroque lute he has copied from the instrument in Fuessen. It was not just me who enjoyed this instrument because Beppo received a lot of orders. Mine won't be ready until end of 2009 (after the usual day to sleep on it I decided that one cannot have enough baroque lutes)!

The first lecture of the day was introduced by Albert Reyermann fromm TREE editions who will publish the manuscript AN62 from the episcopal library in Regensburg. The manuscript was then verbally introduced by Francois-Pierre Goy and musically by Anthony Bailes.
Francois-Pierre's talk was well-informed and peppered with detailed knowledge of the sources. Anthony Bailes playing made this manuscripts even more attractive (although I think he could play a scale and it would be a fascinating sound experience). Albert Reyermann said the manuscript (which will be published in modern transcription) would be on the easier side of the baroque repertoire. I just took a look and could not verify this information with own expirience (i.e. playing the music - tablature *always* looks easy).

This lecture was followed by a lecture of Bart Roose and  Peter Van Wonterghem about Hans Newsidler and the lute Bart is playing. This lecture was very interesting and improved the raising interest in Hans Newsidler's music and in both lectureres. I just got this information by a friend who enthusiastically reported about this lecture - as I missed it I cannot tell more details.
I also missed the following lecture by Werner von Strauch about "tunings and temperaments" which I already heard a while ago. Werner has profund knowledge about the tunings and how to apply them on a lute.

The highlight of the events of this afternoon was the "entertainment" by Dr. Frank Legl and Anthony Bailes who presented a musical travel with Johann Friedrich Armand von Uffenbach.
Pictures were thrown on the wall, texts by Uffenbach presented (and petulantly commented) by Frank. Anthony played music from Vieux gaultier to S.L. Weiss which alone would make the afternoon a success - but the combination of word, humour, pictures and music made the fun complete.

The concerts of this evening were by Lynda Sayce and Claire Antonini.
I was eagerly looking forward to Lynda's performance of english music of the 17th century. And ... she topped all my high experiences! With great sensitivity, well structured, highly virtuous and with beautiful tone (on a lute by David van Edwards) she played a most demanding program which didn't become easier because most of the music is well-known.

I wondered if Claire Antonini could compete with such a overhelming performance. And she could!
On the same level of musicianship she performed music from the Saizenay manuscripts. A shame on the lute world that she is not better known - I only *saw* her on the web-site of the french lute society.
A performer who is able to facinate an audience of several hundred listeners with french baroque lute music taken from one single source is a gift for the lute world. Anyone who has a chance: listen to a performance by Claire! And if not - a small glimpse on her playing you may get when listening to her CD (http://sf-luth.org/?Disques) .  More than a recommendation: in my opinion a "Must Have" CD for anyone who just wants to *talk* about french lute music.
BTW: Great that the SFL (french lute society) supported the production of this CD!

The next day we just said goodby to all our lute friends … and finally I was surprised to meet Greet Schamp in person! At the goodby I realized who she is. Very late but possibly next time there will be more time for a chat.

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