The trilogy of lute concerts at the chateau within the Concentus Moraviae International Music Festival concluded on the evening of Sunday, 18 June. Once again, the audience at the Ceremonial Hall of the Rájec nad Svitavou Castle saw performances by Ryosuke Sakamoto on the Renaissance lute and David Bergmüller on the Baroque lute. Both prepared their own recital for the audience, dedicated to the given historical period, finally joining their artistry at the end of the concert. There was also a slight change in the program of the Renaissance block, which was more than welcome given the expansion of the repertoire and the offer of interesting - often lesser-known - lute pieces.
The first part of the evening was devoted to the Renaissance period, to which the audience was transported by Japanese lutenist Ryosuke Sakamoto. His program consisted mainly of works by Italian and English composers. The precision, musicality, and natural ease with which the lutenist played completely captivated the audience. From the outset, the listeners (in the best possible way) were obliged to focus their complete attention on the players. Sakamoto presented the Renaissance lute in several positions - improvisational (fantasia), dance (padoana, gagliarda, pavana, etc.) and virtuoso. Particularly admirable were the passages in Giovanni Battista Dalo Gosten’s Fantasia Ottava, in which the lutenist worked with imitation and brought out, accentuated and dynamically differentiated the individual voices. The instrument’s complete range and skilled runs in the bass position were heard in the work of English Renaissance composer Anthony Holborn. However, the folk composition (anonymous) stood out to the listener with its distinct rhythmicity, danceability, but also its major key setting, which at times evoked the big beat of the sixties, enhanced further by Sakamoto’s captivating presentation.
The second part of the concert belonged to Austrian-born David Bergmüller, whose domain is music of the Baroque era. The lutenist often performs with other musicians or ensembles and is a highly-sought basso continuo player. During Sunday’s recital, however, he presented himself as a soloist. He prepared a selection of baroque suites for the audience, combining the works of French (with one exception) lutenists of the 17th century. Each half of the evening was different in terms of musical spirit, as well as mentality and personality. It was absolutely fascinating to observe the clash of two different mindsets in Ryosuke Sakamoto and later in David Bergmüller. In contrast to the Japanese lutenist’s propulsive, sometimes predatory performance, Bergmüller’s playing had a calm, brooding atmosphere. Again, it was a game full of lightness, balance and ornamentation, but from a completely different point of view. Listening attentively, the suite passed incredibly fast, the visitor ceased to perceive time and completely omitted observing the individual parts of the suite. The dance and chord sections were interspersed with improvisational pieces that made the listener feel that time had stopped. The soloist’s display of phrases was all the more ingenious when the player was literally breathing with the phrases.
The evening culminated in a joint performance of both artists, who closed the concert with the well-known composition La rossignol. The actual impression that each player really thinks about the game in a different way was reinforced during the intimate finale. Naturally, the performers communicated and collaborated with each other, but despite their connection, there was no complete fusion and at certain points it was clear that these are two distinctive musical personalities. The question is whether the lutenists had enough time to get used to each other.
The three performances under the headline Island of Lutes can undoubtedly be described as a unique and very successful project that offered visitors more than just a musical experience.
Ryosuke Sakamoto - Renaissance lute
Francesco da Milano – Fantasia
Vincenzo Capirola - Padoana
Joan Ambrosio Dalza - Poi che volse la mia stella - Calata alla Spagnola
Julio Cesare Barbetta – Padoana detta la Barbarina
Giovanni Battista Dalla Gostena – Fantasia Ottava
Anonymous (folk) - Scotch Cap - Lulle me beyond thee - Gallua Tom - Kirkmarsch
Anonymous - Fantasia
Anthony Holborne – Galliard “The fairly rounde” – Pavan “Paradiso”
David Bergmüller - Baroque lute
Suite in D minor:
Ennemond Gaultier – Carillion
François Dufaut – Allemande
Ennemond Gaultier – L´Immortelle
François Dufaut – La Superbe
Johann Georg Weichenberger – Sarabande
Ennemond Gaultier – La Poste
Suite in A minor:
Ennemond Gaultier – Narcisse
Ennemond Gaultier – La belle hominide
Charles Mouton – Double
Ennemond Gaultier – La Poste
Thomas Holborne - A Toy, Passemezo galyard
Anonymous - La rossignol