David Braid: Return To Wonderland, Pièces de Luth
Return To Wonderland, Pièces de Luth
|Editeur||Le Luth Doré|
Writing new music for lute in the early 21st century throws up some challenges, not least the weight of history. However, if approached 'neutrally' -- i.e. as a new instrument, to some extent ignoring the styles of the past - one realizes quickly that the lute is an underused and fascinating resource for our own time. The short sustain invites contrapuntal, lively ideas while the clarity of the plucked double courses allow for very clear harmonic writing also.
The five lute solos here look at different aspects of what the instrument 'wants' to do, repeated notes, large-interval harmonic voicing, dancing rhythms, themes in the lower parts, etc. I have avoided extended techniques as these are now considerably dated and instead have looked into the new ways in which this instrument can communicate the musical fundamentals of the harmony and linear aspects of today's music.
Because the sound of the lute, although transparent, is actually quite rich, one does not need to double notes within harmonies or have thick large chords, lightness is an essential part of the instrument's soul.
Even within my own, contemporary, style an independence of voices and rhythm as can be found in earlier music remain highly suitable to the lute. Having said this, a minimal, sparse texture can also work very well; all of these are present in this range of pieces.
Another interesting factor is the lute's small dynamic range, the result of this for a composer is that it is no longer a concern (or even a useable expressive factor) and one is forced to find other devices for expressive effect, especially tempi fluctuation, variation of voicing and ornamentation, amongst other things. This is comparable to writing for a small family instrument ensemble such as a string or brass quintet; timbre is found through harmony rather than actual sound. It is hoped that the curious player may find some interest in the different ways that I've used the 'little orchestra' that is the lute in these five pieces.
These 5 short pieces can be played as a set in any order or individually or in smaller groups of 2,3 or 4, as is required by the performer.(EAN 3770001788104)