Cutting: Lute Music (CD)
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By the time of Francis Cutting’s death in 1596 he had become among the best-known of English lutenists, and but by then his reputation as a lutenist and composer had reached far beyond the Howard family of Catholic aristocrats whom he served. As a lutenist, Cutting was probably an amateur, not a professional musician, but his works show the hand of a skillful musician and composer. His music is characterized by a preference for intricate polyphony, although he also wrote light pieces using simple homophony. In the pavans and galliards we often find a complex interplay between chordal and imitative writing. Harmonically, Cutting’s music is sometimes forward-looking, with its extensive use of sequences and occasional flashes of harmonic daring. One or two of his pieces are often encountered in compilations of Elizabethan-era recitals on record. It is much more unusual to find extended sequences of his work, much less a whole album. Yet, when heard in the round, it becomes clear that Cutting’s music belongs with the great names of the Elizabethan golden age. The serious mood of his pavans, the vitality of his galliards, the gaiety of his almains, together with his personal harmonic idiom and his inventiveness in using counterpoint, imitation and sequences, are all sure signs of a gifted and often inspired composer. Now based in Switzerland as a professor of lute and guitar at the University of St Gallen, Domenico Cerasani won critical praise for his previous Brilliant Classics album dedicated to the The Raimondo Lute Manuscript of 1601.
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