When first conceiving this recording, I imagined myself as a first time listener to the lute. I have tried to bring together a collection of pieces that capture some of the variety and range of styles of the Renaissance lute. The lute was the favorite solo instrument of the Renaissance, valued for its portability and its expressiveness. The lute's shadings of dynamics and tone color were literally at the tip of one's fingers I hope that these varying colors and textures of sound will help communicate the spirit and character of these pieces more clearly, as well as keeping the ear refreshed. For any variety of sounds will be meaningless unless tied to the emotional or structural content of the music
The Swedish lutenist, Jakob Lindberg, developed his first passionate interest in music through the Beatles. He started to play the guitar and soon became interested in the classical repertoire. From the age of 14 he studied with Jörgen Rörby who also gave him his first tuition on the lute. After reading music at Stockholm University he went to London to study at the Royal College of Music. Here he further developed his knowledge of the lute repertoire under the guidance of Diana Poulton and decided towards the end of his studies to concentrate on Renaissance and Baroque music.
Sharon Isbin is a multiple Grammy Award winning American classical guitarist and the founding director of the guitar department at the Juilliard School. Described by the Boston Globe's Michael Manning as a musician who plays "beyond virtuosity," guitarist Sharon Isbin has been a consistent challenge for critics, who struggle to find the right superlative that would do justice to her exquisite playing. A Renaissance woman of the guitar, Isbin performs worldwide at famous venues, commissions new works from distinguished American composers (more than any other guitarist) for her instruments, collaborates with a wide variety of musicians, and indefatigably searches for new music to play.
The considerable variety of Johann Sebastian Bach’s output for the lute stands witness to different periods of his life and career. This collection comprises Bach’s complete lute works, amply demonstrating his interest in its expressive qualities. These works include the technically demanding Partita BWV 1006a, Bach’s own transcription of his Cello Suite No. 5, three pieces from the St John Passion and the St Matthew Passion where the lute appears in an ensemble setting, and the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998, described by the renowned harpsichordist Wanda Landowska as ‘of incomparable beauty… unique amongst Bach’s works’.
The Japanese lutenist Toyohiko Satoh (佐藤豊彦) is one of the most influential lute players of the last century. Born in 1943, he is now looking back on a career of over 40 years of lute playing, including 35 years teaching as a professor for lute at the Royal Conservatory of Den Haag, the Netherlands. Besides being a performer, he is also composing music for chamber ensembles and solo lute, as well as researching and writing about music.