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Posted January 4, 2012
This disc features pieces from the Lviv Lute Tablature, a manuscript dating from 1553 to the early 17th century, and is a comprehensive collection of Polish Renaissance lute music. The recording features several different instruments, including fiddle, tar, setar, tombak, violin, cello, chalumeau, and the human voice. Mr. Timofeyev, a Fullbright scholar and lutenist, founded Sarmatica (an early music ensemble), and this group of early music specialists works extremely hard together to bring this music to light.
The ¿Quando lo Pensal Martire Ad Te Saluator Noster¿ is a fascinating combination of both vocals and several of the intstruments, and is both evocative and captivating. When listening to ¿Fantasia Bellisima¿, you can almost see the beginnings of some of the better known classical guitar repertoire. And in ¿Susanna Galliard¿ the evolution of Bach-like trumpet work is evident. There are a number of moments in this recording where this listener felt that he was hearing living history ¿ and this speaks to the caliber of the performance of the musicians.
If you like early music, and enjoy exploring things from the eras before our more ¿modern¿ masters, this disc is a fine one to add to your collection. If you are particularly fussy about abso¿lute¿ perfection, then this may be one to pass by. But if this kind of thing is your forte, you will very much enjoy this disc.
Posted July 14, 2011
Sarmatica - "the Lviv Lute" - Oleg Timofeyev - Sono Luminus
The group Sarmatica seems to be a loose confederation of musicians with specialties ranging from baroque violin to little known Slavic vocal traditions. For this project, they're joined by lute virtuoso, Oleg Timofeyev.
Collectively, they have chosen to very creatively re-interpret the Lviv Lute Tablature, one of only four such lute sources still extant in the area of the former Soviet Union and containing some of the most important examples of Polish Renaissance instrumental music. The results are decidedly mixed. The Lviv manuscript contains the only known copy of "Fantasia bellisma" by Giovanni Pacoloni, a lute solo beautifully performed by Mr. Timofeyev. This and four other pieces are, mercifully, left intact.
Sarmatica has subjected the rest of the Lviv manuscript to a mixture of (quoting from the liner notes) "creative adaptation" and "invasive techniques", with one Orlando di Lasso composition dropped altogether in favor of two other-sourced pieces chosen because they were "organically connected". Apparently, someone needs to remind these folks that even the most liberal application of artistic license and imaginative leeway does not allow one to ignore the actual text at hand.
With occasional moments of stunning beauty (i.e. Mr. Timofeyev's solo work), "the Lviv Lute" by Sarmatica will appeal most to those who would like to imagine themselves at a Polish Renaissance court, among nobility who are portraying themselves as descendants of an ancient tribe who may or may not have once defeated Alexander the Great.
All other fans of early music may want to wait until someone records the Lviv Lute Tablature as written.
5 out of 10 Oscar O. Veterano