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Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)


  1. Choral “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” BWV 147


Trio sonata No.6  BWV 530


  1. -Vivace
  2. -Lento
  3. -Allegro


  1. Choral “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” BWV 639


Concerto BWV 1043


  1. -Vivace
  2. -Largo
  3. -Allegro


  1. Choral “Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme” BWV 645


  1. – 12. Prelude, Fuge and Allegro BWV 998


  1. Sarabande BWV 1012


What makes the sound of baroque lute duets so enchanting? Perhaps it is the delicate, unassuming tone and the inherent rhythmic nature of all plucked instruments that engages us. It may be the strings themselves. Most baroque lutes have 24 strings with all but two being doubled making it play like a 13-stringed instrument. The Baroque lute has a wide range of pitches, some very low, giving it sophisticated musicality without losing the simplicity of its sound. The original solo lute repertoire of the high baroque is not extensive perhaps because full counterpoint is difficult to produce on a single plucked instrument, not to mention the near impossibility of expressing the harmonic movement simultaneously – a job usually assigned to two instruments, the harpsichord and viola da gamba, during that period.

As LUTEDUO, Anna Kowalska and Anton Birula, both internationally known solo lutenists, create transcriptions of masterworks of the baroque for two lutes.. The music is sometimes augmented by new polyphonic lines for which Anna Kowalska has a special talent – „Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” on this CD is an excellent example – but the spirit and style of baroque-era performance practice is maintained. It is well-known that J.S. Bach transcribed his own music for other than the original instruments as did Ferruccio Busoni and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The components of the lutes, fabricated expressly for this recording by master luthier Maurice Ottiger, were created using identical wood sources. For example, the soundboards of each lute were made from the same piece of wood. Analog tape technology was used in the master recordings of this CD to optimize fidelity of reproduction. With performance technique designed to integrate tone while maintaining both contrapuntal clarity and harmonic impetus, there is little question that, after hearing this CD, J.S. Bach would raise his pint to salute LUTEDUO.

Dean Farwood