Sunday, 15 September 2019

Fantastic Early Lute Works and Where to Find Them

Baroque lute. 
And the evolution of the instruments.
Indeed, there’s some sort of embeddedness of the era; the instrument was optimised onto the music played during the Baroque, which means that its development finished there and then; it came down as a solo star; the lute is drifting and rubbing along a continuo slavery these days.
It’s very occasionally turned to by contemporary composers.

What’s even scarcer is that music resembling the European repertoire of the 17th century is composed onto it.

Roman Turovsky.
He was born in the Ukraine and lives in the US broidering the artistic life of New York City.

He’s a painter, photographer and creator of video installations. 
And, yes, a composer.
When you look into his life a genuinely astonishing figure is slowly unfolding. 
What makes him unique? The fact that he’s mind-numbing with series of fiction of high aesthetics in his pieces.

This Sautschecker saga with various musician descendants and ancestors; four generations up to 1680-1840, nicely illustrated with old catalogue numbers and seals, seemingly correct references to archive data; the pieces themselves are released under numerous pseudo names, e.g., Cantiones sarmaticae et ruthenicae, we find the name “Ioannes Leopolita” in 300 old notes, Joachim Peter, Johann Joachim, and Konradin Aemilius from the Sautschecker family; all of them contributed to the musical oeuvre of the dynasty with something important.

In a word, this is, as such, mainly fiction, an intricacy of lies. Of course, there’s a much more sophisticated word in English - mythopoeia which suggests a sort of current making of myth or rather art.

It seems that a granny who certainly bore the name once patted the little Roman’s head in the old Kiev saying “you’ll see you’re going to be a composer one day”.

He says about the lute pieces of the pseudo-Baroque that the Ukraine couldn’t create a real Renaissance/Baroque repertoire of its own due to the loads of wartime, therefore, he will additionally do it to show us what this music world might have been like. 
The titles include Latinised names of made-up countries just like the tribute before the contemporary artist fellows in the recent revival of the tombeau genre.

Is it then just a pack of lies? And is he a tricky hoax-generator?

There’s much to it, indeed.
It’s for sure that it’s not 'ethno-early' like neither is Rolf Lislevand or L’Arpeggiata. Their ‘nuove’ instrumentation is not said to be ‘made up’, although it may be as much as it may not.
While we are listening to Turovsky’s music something similar is happening. He finely and carefully makes us believe what he wants us to think. 
Early Music texture with bits of extras sometimes. 

And, oddly, with an intense meta-effect.

Like this video. For we’re in the 21st century; loads of things are in motion with the pics today. Where the melody of ‘Szeretőm e táncba' can clearly be recognised, [especially in Hungary]and, indeed, it’s not our eyes playing false - but zombies are marching... A fragment of a film whose pics are made by Roman.

How are the two things related?
Well, let’s try to use the super computer above our shoulders... however, not along the lines of logics but intuitively.

The audience is certainly divided.

I find many of his pieces pure Early Music. The impact of the Ukrainian folk can be traced at several places. Hearing it we in Hungary might make faces asking why? In Hungary, folk music and Early Music got entirely separated; our folk music created a distinct musical realm but our Early Music did not. Therefore, the mixing of the two will give an unbalanced quality for the ‘world music’  -  due to the difference of the temporal runs.

However, if we pull our head out of the prairie sand we can see that it’s not like that at several places. 
For instance, Poland or Anglia where there’re fine pieces of music on the borderline. They’re not folk, neither early, nor world, nor mixture but mostly genuine music of its rightful own.

When we listen to his records we can hear some intense surplus leaking out of these lute pieces. 

It may be,
that somebody in the middle of America, in New York, as a popular artist, who worked with Jarmusch - is so much fond of his homeland that he dreams genuine Early Music into the missing gaps and makes it spread on a level like this - it is really touching.

Highly, highly recommended.

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Thank you for the images.