- The Nuts Be Brown, for 2 lutes
- Echo almaine for 2 lutes
The English Renaissance repertory for two lutes is not large, consisting of perhaps 80 pieces in all. These are not often recorded, for they don't fit the familiar categories of solo lute piece and lute song. They vary among themselves, falling into two types: duets with two equal parts, and those in which the second lute plays a bass line. These pieces would seem to be attuned to contemporary Italian developments, and they give the low lute a lot of room to improvise in the manner of a Baroque theorbist (which is exactly the role lutenist William Simms has played on other recordings). As for Ronn McFarlane, this American lutenist has a mysterious ability to render slow pieces in an absolutely hypnotic way. There are players with greater finesse in long, heavily ornamented works, but in short dances of this kind, he's entrancing. The result is a fine recording of this offbeat repertoire, which is centered on anonymous pieces and those of minor composers such as John Johnson, John Robinson, and John Danyel rather than on the likes of Dowland (who is represented by a pair of short works). Listeners who avoid the highly live type of lute recording might sample before buying; the engineering, from a Virginia farm, renders the sound of the two lutes clearly and in lots of detail (Simms' purring low sounds are especially nice), but there's also a good deal of instrument noise that well-upholstered English nobles might not have heard. In general, a worthwhile release that will fill a hole in the collections of many lute enthusiasts.
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Two Lutes based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This disc consists of 27 pieces of early music from England composed for two lutes. The composers featured are John Johnson, John Marchant, John Danyel, John Dowland, Thomas Robinson, as well as a handful of anonymously penned works. The two lute performers are Ronn McFarlane and William Simms, and they are outstanding. The playing is articulate and crisp, the duo really works well together as a team to bring the music to life, and there is definite joy in hearing them both play. Add to that the fact that it is just really cool to hear lute duets performed this well, and the recording is a winner. The liner notes impart a bit of a history lesson, as well as details about each of the performers. I found them very informative, and the recording quality is excellent. This disc is irresistible, and provides a very satisfying listening experience. I will certainly seek out other recordings from Mr. MdFarlane and Mr. Simms. Highly recommended.
Ronn McFarlane and William Simms - TWO LUTES – Sono Luminus These rarely heard lute duets come from the period of the high English Renaissance , mainly from the pens of John Johnson, court lutenist for Elizabeth I, and Thomas Robinson. They are divided between duets of equal parts and those featuring melodic solo with chordal accompaniment (i.e. lead and rhythm) parts. Ronn McFarlane and William Simms are both internationally recognized virtuoso performers of early music, so, as might be expected, the playing here is uniformly excellent. In addition to their knowledge and technical skills, these gentlemen bring an obvious sense of enjoyment to their performance that turns what could have been an academic exposition of source material into a genuine aesthetic pleasure. Special mention should be made of the efforts of recording engineer, Daniel Shores; the recording quality is faultless, clear, clean and perfectly balanced. Highly recommended for students of Renaissance music, these pieces should also be of interest to guitarists looking for additional early music repertoire. This is beautiful music lovingly performed and perfectly recorded, so for the general listener curious about but with little knowledge of this era, this recording is a wonderful place to start. Highest possible recommendation -10 out of 10 - Oscar O Veterano