Adriaan Smout: Thysius Lute Book (CD)

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Pacoloni Ensemble

The world-premiere recording of an early 17th-century collection of music conceived for a richly varied ensemble of lutes.

Adriaan Smout (1578-1646) was a philosopher, teacher and preacher who collected and transcribed the music that came his way from across Europe. He lived, worked and died in Rotterdam, a city that has always been well-placed to capitalise on international commercial and cultural links to support a distinguished history of music publishing.

The contents of Smout’s collection, which found its way into the Thysius library in Leiden, embraces musical forms amongst the most popular of the late-Renaissance and early-Baroque periods: songs, branles, galliards and allemandes. There is also a bergamasque (a shepherd’s song) which, in its extreme simplicity, has been taken by the Italian musicians of the Pacoloni Ensemble as an opportunity for improvisation and variation. The original authors have nearly all been lost in the mists of time, except for Smout’s transcription of ‘Can she excuse’, a song by John Dowland.

Up to four lutes are used, and several tracks are enhanced by percussion which would have lent colour and rhythmic strength to this music played in its own time: the manuscript as a whole has been freshly edited, and taken as the basis for richly textured and melodically elaborated performances which do not confine themselves to the literal indications of the tablature.

Led by their founder-director Roberto Cascio, the musicians of the Pacoloni Ensemble have been performing together for two decades. They are all members of other early-music ensembles who come together to explore the treasure-trove of little-known repertoire written during the golden age of the lute.

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SMOUT: Thysius Lute Book
Music for 1, 2, 3 and 4 lutes from the manuscript ‘Thysius’

  1. Si vous estes belle / Reprinse
  2. Passomezo haubois /Gailliarde haubois
  3. Jan Dirrixz
  4. Ick clam den boom al op
  5. Onse Vader
  6. Wie sal mijn troetelen
  7. Gaet hem toe
  8. Wilhelmus van Nassowen
  9. Can shee excuse
  10. Brande d’Angleterre
  11. Rogier
  12. Passomezo del Zorzi
  13. Galliarda La Gamba
  14. Passomezo La Romanesqua / Gallarde La Romanesqua
  15. Galliarda La Caracossa
  16. Passomezo d’Italie / Gailliarde d’Italie
  17. Gailliarda Chi passa
  18. Bargamasco
  19. Almande Mon varle
  20. Gallarde Fransoyse
  21. Gallarde de Royne d’escosse
  22. Gallarde Belle qui me vas martirant
  23. Brande Battaille