Bach and the Lute

Daniel Swenberg, lute

In recent seasons of the Carmel Bach Festival, we have become accustomed to observing the lute as a participating instrument in medium and small ensembles. Gorgeous to look at, but sometimes almost too muted to hear, some have assumed that the lute serves as an eye-candy relic of a lost tradition from the Renaissance and early Baroque. Well, that perception is about to change for a privileged few.

I say, “for a privileged few,” since the two presentations of “Bach and the Lute,” in the limited-seat foyer at Sunset Center were among the first events at Carmel Bach Festival 2019 to sell out. If you haven’t already obtained tickets to the intimate Sunset Center Foyer concert “Bach and the Lute,” you are out of luck, but for those of us already with tickets, we are in for one of the most interesting chamber concerts to be heard at Carmel Bach Festival 2019. The concert takes place on Wednesday, July 17 and 24, at 1:00 pm in the Foyer at Sunset Center.

“Bach and the Lute” is a chamber concert presenting Bach’s music for the Lute and Lute-Harpsichord (lautenwerk) as performed by Daniel Swenberg, lute, and Dongsok Shin, lautenwerk. This program consists of only three works: Duet in C Major by Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Bach’s Prelude for Lute, BWV 995, and Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998 for lautenwerk. Although both Swenberg and Shin have appeared with the Carmel Bach Festival previously, the novelty on the program is the first appearance at the festival of a lautenwerk keyboard instrument.

Lautenwerk (courtesy of Christine Baker)

Lautenwerk keyboard instruments are similar to a harpsichord, except with gut strings, and they are a rare commodity. Therefore, the CBF is very fortunate to have arranged a loan of a lautenwerk from Christine Baker an amateur keyboard player living in Pebble Beach. Baker is a serious player and has in her home two museum-quality large harpsichords and two lautenwerk keyboards.

If you can beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this very interesting concert, you will be richly rewarded.


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