Mésangeau’s Experiments

Alex McCartney lute
Veterum Musica – details below the review
Suites in B flat, f and C

René Mésangeau (fl 1567-1638) was one of the pioneers of what was to become the Baroque lute, not least through his experiments in lute tuning that led to the ‘standard’ Baroque lute tuning based around a D minor chord. After a time in Germany he returned to his native Paris and the Court of Louis XIII. Three Suites are included on this CD, in B flat, F minor and C, the latter Suite including two movements by an anonymous composer. Each suite opens with an unmeasured prelude following by groups of Allemandes and Courantes, finishing with Sarabandes or a Chaconne. The playing is sensitive and musical (albeit with a fair bit of finger noise), the acoustic adding a nice resonance to the sound, particularly in the many pieces at low pitch. The sleeve notes are minimal, and there is no indication of track or total timings – something to watch out for if you want anybody to broadcast tracks.

Andrew Benson-Wilson

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