M. dall'Aquila, Pieces for Lute, P. O'Dette
(released on April 13, 2010)
Harmonia Mundi HMU 907548 | 77'17"
Most of Marco dall'Aquila's music survives in a single manuscript, preserved in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Mus. Ms. 266 -- yes, Internet be praised, you can peruse it online! It will not do you much good, however, unless you can read Renaissance lute tablature: have a look and bite your tongue the next you time you think of disparaging a musicologist). In his liner essay, O'Dette describes this source as "fascinating -- but frustratingly inaccurate," fraught with puzzles for transcription. The pieces selected here include examples of Marco's penchant for contrapuntal imitation, sometimes dense, in the ricercars and fantasias, as well as a delight in bouncy rhythms and homophony, borrowed from dance and popular song. Some of the quirks of his style -- odd chromatic shifts and clashes, repeated notes that enliven the texture, and extensions of register (leading O'Dette to play on two instruments, both six-course modern instruments based on Italian historical models, one in the higher alto range and the other with more fundamental bass notes) -- can be appreciated in the online editions by Prof. Arthur J. Ness. O'Dette plays from his own edition of the Complete Lute Works of Marco dall'Aquila, edited with the late Maurizio Pratola, published by the Istituto Abruzzese di Storia Musicale in L'Aquila. All in all, a fascinating listen.