by Mike Telin
The life of a court musician during the Renaissance was not that bad. “They were highly paid, highly prized, and were provided with great instruments and a lot of flexibility to travel to other courts and meet other musicians,” lutenist Paul O’Dette noted during a recent conversation. “There were a lot of opportunities particularly for the lute players. Because it’s a very quiet instrument, they were given security clearances to parts of the court that others were not permitted to be in — meaning the private chambers of the monarch.”
On Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church, O’Dette will present a concert titled “The Secret of the Muses,” featuring works by Vieux Gautier, Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, Nicolas Vallet, Robert Johnson, and Daniel Bachelar, performed on a 10-course lute built by Ray Nurse after Hans Frei. Due to the softer nature of the instrument, the concert will be held in the intimate Herr Chapel. The evening is part of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society’s International Series. Tickets are available online.
What is special about a 10-course lute? (No, the evening does not include a 10-course meal.) O’Dette explained that a course is a pair of strings tuned to the same pitch or to an octave, and that during the 16th century lutes were primarily 6-course instruments akin to a 12-string guitar. [Read on…]