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    J. S. Bach - Partita in C moll* BWV 997 (*=C minor)

    Last edited by Peter C; 04-01-2021 at 08:18 AM.


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    She's one of the best. I have a CD from five or more years ago, playing Bach. Wonderful player with great musicianship. Looks like she is suddenly embracing YouTube. Good luck to her.

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    That right hand just seems infused with its own wisdom, reaching back into the early 1700s. I must say I feel privileged to "witness" such mastery and purity. It's akin to meditation. Bach apparently wrote the piece specifically for the lute.

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    Well, he did and he didn't. We know he spent an evening with the famous Sylvius Weiss, so knew what a virtuoso lute player could do. I get the strong feeling he was imitating something of Weiss's playing but on his gut-strung clavier. The fact remains that his so-called lute works don't fit on any known lute or lute tuning from his time, so lute players also have to make adjustments, miss notes out, re-voice chords, put basses up and down octaves, sometimes even change the key and tuning, but not anywhere near as much as six-string guitar players are forced to do. Quite frankly, his lute works are extremely difficult, and very few lutenists bring it off as well as Evangelina. She is at the top of the tree, along with Robert Barto and Nigel North - there are a few others - but most recitals I've witnessed of Bach's lute works on a lute have been quite poor. So, all the praise I can muster goes to Evangelina here - perfection! Both Bach and Weiss would be very happy with her performance, I'm sure.

    But...just to get my nerd hat mention her right-hand technique reaching back to the early 1700s...all the paintings, drawings and testimony from that period detail another technique, with the thumb out in front of the fingers, not moving into the palm when close to the fingers. There was thumb in and thumb out techniques, with the thumb in dating back to the very early Renaissance. It was already on its way out during Dowland's lifetime - he apparently started with thumb in, and moved to thumb out as his compositions required more use of extra bass strings. By the time of the baroque lute, thumb-in wasn't even a distant memory. Fast forward to the Early-Music revival of the 1970s and 80s, everyone suddenly discovered the old Renaissance technique of thumb-in, and that became known as "lute technique" and was used over everything, no matter what period or kind of lute. Evangelina probably learned the thumb-in technique early on in her studies and is stuck with it. But who's complaining? Certainly not I! She's amazing. And all question of technique seems a waste of breath and time, as indeed it is. So I'll stop.

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    Thanks for taking the time to write your post. Yes, Evangelina's performance is perfect, isn't it? I had no knowledge of lute picking hand technique, and was referring to how her hand seems to "know" the music intimately. Very interesting to read, however!

  7. #6

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    wonderful scholarly info & analysis maestro rob!! brilliant! gives a whole new way to look at it!

    thank you my friend...


  8. #7

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    That's a wonderful portrait of - we think - Francesco da Milano, and an extreme example of "thumb-in" technique. Here's one of the "thumb out" technique:

    Evangelina Mascardi, Liuto barocco-thumb-out-jpg

    As profound a change as The Great Vowel Shift!

  9. #8

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    I like the sound of the lute.
    My teacher, Marcin Zalweski, specializes in early music - he plays various lutes, and he is also a collector of old instruments.