• chrisdumigan

Thomas Robinson : Six duets in guitar notation and lute tablature (for 2 guitars or 2 lutes)

Thomas Robinson: arranged and edited by Ben Salfield

Bergmann Edition: Separate parts only: 23 and 21 pages respectively

Thomas Robinson’s’ The School of Musicke together with his other publications for Lute are some of the best music ever written for that wonderful instrument. I well remember having a (now long lost) volume with every solo and duet that existed at the time when I had a Renaissance Lute, and next to the Dowland pieces, they were my favourite works for the lute, full of wonderful melodies and harmonies that stood out from much of the other material that I had.

Here then are the six duets produced as separate books, one for each player, something which although I can see the reasons for it, I do regret as I always think it is a benefit to see the entire score at once.

That said, decent players of either (or both) instruments will be able to cope with just their own part on the stand. So that is not really a problem. All the parts have the 3rd string tuned to F# , to line up completely with the lute’s tuning, and one piece (Twenty Waies Vpon the Bels) also requiring the 6th string of the guitar to be a D for both players. This piece is very effective because both players have the same material almost throughout the piece, but at different bars, as the piece is a form of canon where the players take it in turns to play the next phrase. The other pieces in this collection are A Plaine Song, Passemezo Galyard, The Queenes Good Night, Fantasie, and finally A Toy.All the pieces do require good players, and nothing is very easy, but all players who love this area of musical history will be delighted by the quality of these pieces, which are great fun to play, and really do have some wonderful melodic material in them.

This is altogether a clever and worthwhile edition, for either guitarists or lutenists

Chris Dumigan

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