~ 8 - c o u r s e L u t e ~
by Ben Hall, Newtown Australia
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (1580-1651)
~ 1 3 - Course L u t e ~
built by Stephen Murphy, Mollans-sur-Ouveze, France, 1993
Sylvius Leopold Weiß (1687-1750)
~Prelude & Passacaille in D
(recorded 11 July 2007)
Denis Gaultier (1603-1672)
Suite for lute in b minor :
~Allemande grave: "Tombeau de Gautier par luy mesme"
~Courantes i & ii
(suite recorded 11 July 2007)
NOTES for suite in b minor
This suite occurs in both a printed and a manuscript version, which are almost identical (the manuscript version lacks the Prélude, which would perhaps have been improvised by the owner of the ms.) . The Tombeau de Gautier "by himself" (as it is named in the manuscript version) is perhaps the sole extant example of a Tombeau composed in anticipatory commemoration of the death of its own author - surely the pinnacle of preciosité!
The entire suite is strongly funereal in mood, and has been interpreted in the light (or perhaps in the shade) of this fact. There are several special qualities which it possesses. The suite is left until the end of the volume published by Gaultier's widow in 1672. The free, unbarred Prélude which prefaces the suite in that edition is one of the longest French lute Préludes committed to paper, certainly Gaultier's longest, occupying four pages. The key, b minor, is rare in music for the baroque lute, being the only key which uses a lowered eleventh course (to B ) on the 11-course French lute, giving the instrument an extraordinarily dark, funereal resonance, which is utilised with profound effect by the bitter-sweetness of Gaultier's stylistic idiom. Also, the Tombeau's B section reprise is in an unusual position in the Barbe manuscript, and the cadence on the minor dominant at the end of the A section of Courante i is another æthereal effect.
It was Denis Gaultier's music which was monographed in the unique tome entitled "La Rethorique des Dieux" created during the 1650's, though this suite was not included, as it was probably not written until much later.
But surely the master's ultimate rhetorical utterance lies here, in self-immortalisation, via a piece whose title suggests that -traditionally speaking- it could only have been composed posthumously?