The Golden Age of the Guitar in Europe

In this video

One of the world’s foremost experts on the 10-string guitar, Pascal Boëls offers us a cross-section of the finest music for his instrument from around Europe in the Renaissance and the Baroque.

Composers: Various
Artists: Pascal Boëls

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He identifies this as the guitar’s ‘golden age’ – rather than the later proliferation of guitar music in pre-Romantic Europe, from Spain and Italy through Paris, London and Vienna, even as far as Moscow – because in the 16th and 17th centuries, the guitar and its plucked-string ancestors reigned supreme, whereas the later guitar music, although often of great quality, could not compete with the genius poured by the great composers of the day into the fortepiano.

Renaissance Spain in particular was a bastion of the art, where the 12-string vihuela inspired an immense corpus of great quality, often enhanced with the mystical qualities of plainchant. The musical range on Disc Two of this set is quite comprehensive: court music, fantasies, variations or glosses on secular melodies (Josquin des Prez’s Mille regretz for example) and liturgical music. As the piano did in the 19th century, the vihuela in the Renaissance served as a platform for reductions of works for larger forces, making the great polyphonic music of the time more readily accessible to the masses and to individual players.

Composer: Ludovico Roncalli
Sonata No. 2, quarto tono in E Minor:
0:00:00 I. Preludio
0:01:10 II. Alemanda
0:04:14 III. Giga
0:05:20 IV. Sarabanda
0:08:18 V. Gavotta
0:09:08 VI. Passacaglia

Composer: John Dowland
0:13:28 Lachrimae pavan, P15
0:19:48 A Fancy, P73

Composer: Robert de Visée
Suite in G Major:
0:23:21 I. Prélude
0:24:10 II. Allemande
0:26:07 III. Courante
0:27:43 IV. Sarabande
0:29:57 V. Gigue
0:31:15 VI. Chaconne

Suite in D Minor:
0:33:05 I. Prélude
0:33:43 II. Allemande
0:37:07 III. Courante
0:38:51 IV. Sarabande I
0:40:56 V. Sarabande II
0:41:48 VI. Gigue
0:43:01 VII. Menuets I & II
0:44:56 VIII. Bourrée
0:45:37 IX. Passacaille

Composer: Silvius Leopold Weiss
0:50:06 Fantasie in C Minor, WeissSW9

Composer: Jan Antonín Losy
Partita in A Minor:
0:52:46 I. Aria
0:54:51 II. Allemande
0:57:04 III. Capriccio
0:58:02 IV. Sarabande
1:00:18 V. Gavotte
1:01:21 VI. Gigue

Composer: Luis de Narváez
1:02:18 Mille regres la canción del rmperador, del quarto tono, de Jusquin
1:06:21 Fantasia VIII del quarto tono

Composer: Alonso Mudarra1
1:08:48 Fantasia VII
1:11:33 Fantasia X, que contrahaze la harpa en la manera de Ludovico
1:13:35 Kyrie primero, de la missa de beata virgine de Josquin glosado, primer tono

Composer: Luis de Narváez
6 diferencias sobre o gloriosa domina, primer tono:
1:16:24 I. Diferencia I
1:17:50: II. Diferencia II, de dos tiples sobre el tenor
1:19:07 III. Diferencia III, a duo
1:19:38 IV. Diferencia IV, de proporción
1:20:27 V. Diferencia V, el canto llano por tiple
1:22:53 VI. Dupla, diferencia VI, el canto llano por tiple

Composer: Enríquez de Valderrábano
1:23:56 4 diferencias sobre la pavana por grados

Composer: Gaspar Sanz
Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra Española:
1:29:02 libro II, XVIII. Marizápalos
1:34:04 libro I, XLVII. Fuga I, por primer tono, al ayre español
1:35:21 libro II, IV. Folias
1:37:41 libro II, XXII. Pavanas por la D
1:41:17 libro I, XXXIII. Passacalles sobre la D

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