Golden Age lute transcriptions

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
robertboileau

Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by robertboileau » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:13 pm

I recently did an extensive study on mid seventeenth-century French lutenists (i.e. the Gaultiers, Pinot, Mouton etc...) and realised that their music is probably some of the most beautiful ever written for a plucked instument. Specifically I wrote a thesis and transcribed part of Gaultier le Jeune's La Rhétorique des Dieux.

However, the Bach lute suites and to a slightly lesser extent anything by Weiss cast a shadow over everything else. The irony of course is that the instrument was in somewhat of a decline due to the rising popularity of the harpsichord. Comparitively to the French lute ca. 1625-1775 their repertoire was quite insignificant.

I'm not saying that they composed bad music. On the contrary, they are quite brilliant and I enjoy playing them. I know that mainstream music history does not always mean mainstream music back-in-the-day. It just seems like a shame to waste this supposed 'Golden Age' of lute music.

My questions are: (1) Have any of the major CG's released any music of this era. (2) If no - Why not? If yes - Why hasn't the music made its way higher onto modern repertoire lists?

User avatar
pogmoor
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8680
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by pogmoor » Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:43 pm

This is a question that also interests me - I agree that there is a lot of beautiful but somewhat neglected music from the 17th century and the early part of the 18th century. I suppose the popularity of Bach's "lute" music derives in part from the popularity of his music in general and the perception that he was one of the musical "giants". And I guess Weiss gains by association - because we are used to Bach, Weiss's somewhat related style is accessible to us, even though his instrument (the baroque lute) is relatively unfamiliar.

I think one so the problems with the Gaultiers, the Gallots, Charles Mouton and that ilk is that the mannered French style of the time is now unfamiliar and the music itself is very idiomatic for the lute and for the particular tuning used, so that transposition to the guitar is often very tricky. I've transcribed pieces by Ennemond Gaultier, Jacques St. Luc, Charles Mouton and some of Robert de Visee's theorbo works for guitar (a few are on my website) and I do find it requires quite a lot of thought to get arrangements that (in my opinon at least) work on the guitar. I do enjoy playing them though :)

I've also taken to transcribing the music of another 17th century figure, the rather eccentric English musician Tobias Hume, who wrote for the solo lyra viol. His music is great fun, and I think there is more in the lyra viol repertory that could be transcribed. - eg one or two pieces by William Lawes.

I'd be interested to know what you make of the music of La Rhétorique des Dieux. On the page some of it looks rather simple and one or two pieces I've tried sound disappointing. As an example, the Tombeaux; the Tombeau De Mademoiselle Gaultier doesn't seem half as good as Jacques St Luc's Tombeau de M. François Ginter - and nowhere near as good as Weiss's (much later) Tombeau de M. Le Compte de Logy. What are the gems in La Rhétorique that are really worth looking at?
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Aurore

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by Aurore » Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:51 pm

Very nice topic, that must have been very interesting doing this study. I do not have an in-depth knowledge of music or music history, so it is nice to learn and discover. I like to think of music in its broader context where it comes from rather than just playing notes from a page.

I found an interesting read in the Treasury of Early Music (Carl Parrish), also the emergence of the dance suite in all areas of Europe, the influence of these earlier lute composers had on the later Baroque times; you mention the harpsichord's increase in popularity, their composers absorbing the French developments and further developing the suite ...

To answer your questions Tom Leisek L'Esprit du Baroque (VGo Recordings) - has Gaultier and Mouton in part. Quite nice - also youtube posted Tom Leisek Part 4

But this looks like not many out there covering this in guitar.

Aurore

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by Aurore » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:05 pm

pogmoor, I went to your website, very well done and thank you, I've bookmarked it; already got the arrangements of Chaconne du vieux Gaultier and the one by Mouton. I will return and explore.

robertboileau

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by robertboileau » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:36 pm

pogmoor wrote: I'd be interested to know what you make of the music of La Rhétorique des Dieux. What are the gems in La Rhétorique that are really worth looking at?
As you may know the Rhétorique is a ten suite package named after the twelve modes, although they are not actually written modally. (Long story, but basically it stems down to a group of scribes working away on the manuscript and Gaultier working away at the composition seperately. i.e. never actually meeting). I transcribed and fingered the Mode Ionien. In doing this I actually did not use the Rhétorique as my leading force. Mainly because it lacks most ornaments that make manuscripts of the its day so interesting (again... lazy scribes...) instead I referred to secondary copies of the pieces. Usually hand written scores with penciled in interpretations. An example of this (and if you've never seen this ms. ... do. It is rife with ornaments that tell us much about the style) is:

Barbe, Jean-Baptiste Manuscript Barbe: Pièces de Luth de Différentes Auteurs en Tablature Française (ca. 1690). Genève : Éditions Minkoff, 1985.

In this ms. I found a copy of the Courante 'La Belle Homocide'. This piece was in fact one of the most widely known pieces of the late seventeenth century. In my research I found at least a dozen copies of this piece and way too many references of it that I have time to talk about. Some (very few) even attribute it to Ennemond Gaultier. This piece is one of the 'gems' of the Rhétorique. Also look at La Gaillard and a few of the Allemandes/Gigues.

User avatar
pogmoor
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8680
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by pogmoor » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:13 pm

robertboileau wrote: .....because it lacks most ornaments that make manuscripts of the its day so interesting (again... lazy scribes...) instead I reffered to secondary copies of the pieces...........I found a copy of the Courante 'La Belle Homocide'. This piece was in fact one of the most widely known pieces of the late seventeenth century. This piece is one of the 'gems' of the Rhétorique. Also look at La Gaillard and a few of the Allemandes/Gigues.
Thanks, I will follow up these points :)
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Azalais

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by Azalais » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:51 am

I adore this music too, and have collected many CD's, digitized files (in django lute tablature software format) and have a copy of the Barbe ms. I have attempted a few transcriptions (in dropped D tuning) and adore attempting to play them. It is a fascinating period in history and especially in music!

There are many excellent recordings available, for anyone who is interest (fans of dark jazz might be particularly taken with some of this music), try CDs by Hopkinson Smith, Jose Miguel Moreno, Catherine Liddell, Louis Pernot, Rolf Lislevand.... etc.

User avatar
Valéry Sauvage
Posts: 2805
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:07 am
Location: France - Poitou

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by Valéry Sauvage » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:05 am

I'm not a fan of this music (for the period I prefer Couperin and Rameau on the harpsichord). On the lute I'm more on german music...
But for a CD, ask the French Lute Society for the CD by Claire Antonini... Far above all for this repertoire !
Val
Count Basie: I don't worry about virtuosity. I do what I like to do. If I'm a virtuoso, that's great. If not, I'm doing what I like to do.

avoz

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by avoz » Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:09 am

The citing of recordings of 'High Baroque' music is somewhat off topic, but as some have been mentioned it would be remiss to ignore those made by Walter Gerwig, Michael Schaffer and Toyohiko Satoh (particularly a fine 2-LP set comprising Ennemond Gaultier, Denis Gaultier, Jaques Gallot, De Visee and Charles Mouton).
For much of this music the guitar would be inappropriate.

User avatar
pogmoor
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8680
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by pogmoor » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:37 pm

avoz wrote:The citing of recordings of 'High Baroque' music is somewhat off topic, but as some have been mentioned it would be remiss to ignore those made by Walter Gerwig, Michael Schaffer and Toyohiko Satoh (particularly a fine 2-LP set comprising Ennemond Gaultier, Denis Gaultier, Jaques Gallot, De Visee and Charles Mouton).
For much of this music the guitar would be inappropriate.
I suppose JS Bach (1685 - 1750) and SL Weiss (1687 - 1750) are considered 'High Baroque' which I take to describe the musical period from approx 1700 to 1750. I suppose too that Rameau (1683 - 1764) gets into this category and Francois Couperin (1668 - 1733) just about. But I don't think most of the lutenists mentioned are regarded as 'High Baroque' - Ennemond Gaultier lived from about 1575 to 1651, Denis Gaultier 1603 - 1672, Jacques Gallot 1625 – 1695 - though perhaps Charles Mouton 1626 - 1710 and Robert de Visee 1650 - 1725 sneak in.

Sylvius Weiss made his own version of Jacques Gallot's allemande 'L'Amant Malheureux' - by the time he wrote it I guess it would have been regarded as 'ancient' music! This piece can be played quite effectively on the guitar and I think a fair bit of the French baroque lute repertory can be adapted for the guitar though much (in my view) can't and some of it (as Luthval suggests) doesn't seem worth it - or perhaps we are missing something :)
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

branislav

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by branislav » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:08 am

robertboileau wrote:I recently did an extensive study on mid seventeenth-century French lutenists (i.e. the Gaultiers, Pinot, Mouton etc...) and realised that their music is probably some of the most beautiful ever written for a plucked instument. Specifically I wrote a thesis and transcribed part of Gaultier le Jeune's La Rhétorique des Dieux.

However, the Bach lute suites and to a slightly lesser extent anything by Weiss cast a shadow over everything else. The irony of course is that the instrument was in somewhat of a decline due to the rising popularity of the harpsichord. Comparitively to the French lute ca. 1625-1775 their repertoire was quite insignificant.

I'm not saying that they composed bad music. On the contrary, they are quite brilliant and I enjoy playing them. I know that mainstream music history does not always mean mainstream music back-in-the-day. It just seems like a shame to waste this supposed 'Golden Age' of lute music.

My questions are: (1) Have any of the major CG's released any music of this era. (2) If no - Why not? If yes - Why hasn't the music made its way higher onto modern repertoire lists?
I agree 100% that this music, from the mid of 17th century French lutenists is completely neglected. After listening to Rolf Lislevand's "La Belle Homicide", I became obsessed with this music. This CD is the most brilliant performance of this music - on lute, of course. That is a part of the problem. Not many people play lute, and even less number of people play lute well. And these pieces are hard, primarily because of heavy ornamentation, and unequal notes which are not always easy to figure out how to play (as can be attested by listening the available recordings).

Alas, I play guitar, not lute, and somebody in this thread stated that this music is not appropriate for guitar. While I certainly prefer lute to guitar for this music, I would disagree that this music is not appropriate for guitar.

For instance, there is an excellent edition of complete work of Robert De Visee, arranged for guitar by Robert Strizich:

de Visée, Robert (arr. Robert Strizich)
The Complete Guitar Works
DO 608 - 190 p.
Available from dobermaneditions.

I play about 10 pieces from this collection, and it sound almost like on lute - if ornaments are performed correctly.

If any of you transcribed any of the named French lutenists for guitar, I would appreciate if I could get the score.

Also if anybody is aware of the existing guitar arrangements of lute pieces from this period, I would be thankful for any information on that.

Thanks,
Branislav

avoz

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by avoz » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:17 am

branislav wrote: Alas, I play guitar, not lute, and somebody in this thread stated that this music is not appropriate for guitar. While I certainly prefer lute to guitar for this music, I would disagree that this music is not appropriate for guitar.
For instance, there is an excellent edition of complete work of Robert De Visee, arranged for guitar by Robert Strizich:

de Visée, Robert (arr. Robert Strizich)
The Complete Guitar Works
DO 608 - 190 p.
Available from dobermaneditions.
Branislav, I commented that much (not all) music for baroque lute music is inappropriate on guitar. Of course, the music of Robert De Visee for baroque guitar is not totally inappropriate on the modern instrument (i enjoy performing it thus myself), but has anyone performed his compositions for theorbo on guitar in an appropriate manner?

User avatar
pogmoor
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8680
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 10:55 am
Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by pogmoor » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:01 pm

branislav wrote:If any of you transcribed any of the named French lutenists for guitar, I would appreciate if I could get the score.
I've posted a Passacaglia by Esaias Reusner on this site (which reminds me I need to post a slightly revised version) and if you navigate to my website (via the link below my avatar) you'll find a nice Chaconne by Charles Mouton and one or two other French baroque pieces (hopefully more to follow in due course).
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

branislav

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by branislav » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:54 pm

pogmoor wrote:
branislav wrote:If any of you transcribed any of the named French lutenists for guitar, I would appreciate if I could get the score.
I've posted a Passacaglia by Esaias Reusner on this site (which reminds me I need to post a slightly revised version) and if you navigate to my website (via the link below my avatar) you'll find a nice Chaconne by Charles Mouton and one or two other French baroque pieces (hopefully more to follow in due course).

Really, Mouton!!!!!!!!! I will go to your site tonight!

Thanks a lot!

Branislav

branislav

Re: Golden Age lute transcriptions

Post by branislav » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:01 pm

avoz wrote:
branislav wrote: Alas, I play guitar, not lute, and somebody in this thread stated that this music is not appropriate for guitar. While I certainly prefer lute to guitar for this music, I would disagree that this music is not appropriate for guitar.
For instance, there is an excellent edition of complete work of Robert De Visee, arranged for guitar by Robert Strizich:

de Visée, Robert (arr. Robert Strizich)
The Complete Guitar Works
DO 608 - 190 p.
Available from dobermaneditions.
Branislav, I commented that much (not all) music for baroque lute music is inappropriate on guitar. Of course, the music of Robert De Visee for baroque guitar is not totally inappropriate on the modern instrument (i enjoy performing it thus myself), but has anyone performed his compositions for theorbo on guitar in an appropriate manner?

Yes, you are right Avoz, I figured out that, contrary to me belief, these pieces in Strizic's book were transcribed from baroque guitar, not lute. I thought that this Chaconne in D-minor, that Rolf Lislevand plays at Youtube, was originally written for Lute/Theorbo, and this suite is included in Strizich book. Actually, do you know, perhaps this D-minor suite with that Chaconne was originally written for Lute or Theorbo, and then transcribed for baroque guitar at that time? So we probably have two original versions today.

I am not aware that anybody performed theorbo or lute music on guitar in "appropriate manner". But, I want to believe this is possible, at least in the near-appropriate manner! :-) This is, of course, because I am restricted to guitar. :-(

Thanks,
Branislav

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Andrei Puhach, Briant, CommonCrawl [Bot], es335, kmurdick, Lawler and 27 guests