Da Crema: Lute Music

Da Crema: Lute Music
Composer Giovanni Maria da Crema
Artist Domenico Cerasani lute
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 96419
EAN code 5028421964195
Release June 2024

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About this release

Giovanni Maria da Crema remains to this day a mysterious figure in the history of the lute, with very little information known about his life. However his oeuvre is crucial to understanding the lute’s place in 16th-century Italy. His Libro primo, published in Venice by Antonio Gardane in 1546, is presented as an edition “newly reprinted and corrected by the author himself”, indicating the existence of a rival prior edition, namely that published by Girolamo Scotto, with the same contents and minimal differences. Two years later, also in Venice, Scotto would publish Francesco da Milano’s Libro settimo which also includes keyboard pieces by Giulio Segni da Modena intabulated for the lute by Giovanni Maria da Crema. Some of these intabulations had already appeared in Giovanni Maria da Crema’s Libro primo without mention of Giulio Segni’s authorship of the keyboard original.

This recording features the Libro primo, with the addition of three pieces from the Da Milano Libro settimo. The former aims to present a broad overview of lute music in the mid-16th century. Divided into implicit sections, it opens with 15 ricercars, among the most interesting of the period, in a continuous alternation of styles and characters. Some of them clearly show the influence of Francesco da Milano, with at least two of them (the Nono and Undecimo) attributed directly to Da Milano in other sources. The chansons section is quite extensive and includes intabulations of songs by composers well-known and anonymous. A personal selection was made for this recording. Next is a series of motets. The beautiful four-voice Quae est ista by Nicolas Gombert for example is masterfully intabulated by Da Crema. The madrigal genre is represented by five pieces; two each by Philippe Verdelot and Jacob Arcadelt are included on the recording. The Libro primo closes with a series of dances, primarily of two types –passamezzo and saltarello – which in some cases form a pair based on the same musical material.

This recording represents a highly personal selection of Giovanni Maria da Crema’s lute works dictated solely by the performer’s taste and artistic needs. Like Da Crema’s contemporaries, Domenico Cerasani believes this music to be of extraordinary value, able to engage today’s listeners and immerse them in the fascinating and multifaceted world of the 16th-century lute.

- Giovanni Maria da Crema (1492-1550) remains to this day a mysterious figure in the history of the lute. There is very little information about his life, but his work is crucial to understanding lute experiences in 16th-century Italy. The only certain information about his person can be gleaned from the prints personally curated by Giovanni Maria da Crema of his two books published in 1546 and 1548. The town Crema was under the dominion of the Republic of Venice at the time, so it is there that we can reasonably establish the place of his musical and editorial activities.
- Da Crema’s lute works consist of Ricercares, in which strict counterpoint and melodic freedom alternate, and settings of vocal works by other composers, both sacred and profane: chansons, motets and madrigals. Da Crema idiomatically exploits all the resources of the lute to convey the complexity of the original vocal pieces.
- Played by Domenico Cerasani, an Italian lute and guitar player, as well as an avid scholar. He made already two successful recordings for Brilliant Classics: the Raimondo Manuscript (BC 95580) and lute music by Francis Cutting (BC 96099).

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar duodecimo
  2. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar ottavo (Libro VII)
  3. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Et don bon soir
  4. Giovanni Maria da Crema: O felici occhi miei
  5. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Saltarello ditto el maton
  6. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar decimoquinto
  7. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Vivre ne puis
  8. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Con lacrime e sospiri
  9. Giovanni Maria da Crema: La Bertoncina – El Giorgio
  10. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar ottavo
  11. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar nono
  12. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Le content e riche
  13. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar tredecimo
  14. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Quanto sia liet’ el giorno
  15. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Pass’ e mezo e saltarello a la bolognesa
  16. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar quinto
  17. Giovanni Maria da Crema: De vous servir
  18. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar terzo
  19. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Occhi miei lassi
  20. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Pass’ e mezo e saltarello della lovetta
  21. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar undecimo
  22. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Mon amy
  23. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar terzo (Libro VII)
  24. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Mais quest ce
  25. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar sexto
  26. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Iamais
  27. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar settimo
  28. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Pass ‘ e mezo e saltarello de la sasinata
  29. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar primo
  30. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Que est ista
  31. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Recercar quinto (Libro VII)
  32. Giovanni Maria da Crema: Saltarello ditto bel fior