Music around 1600 from prints of V. Galilei, J. B. Besard, G.G.Kapsberger, etc.

SIGRUN RICHTER – Lute by Joseph Hellmer, Füssen, 1601,

HEL fig 29restored by Nico van der Waals 2019 / 2020

The only surviving lute by Joseph Hellmer comes back to life and will sound with music from its period.

This antique lute by Joseph Hellmer seems to have always attracted musicians to it. It appears that it was played for almost its entire history, regardless of its condition. The countless repairs, reconstructions, and conversions are witnesses to this.

It is astounding, and at the same time, wonderful to hear its sound again today. Despite the initial, depressing condition of the lute, today the lute speaks as a mature instrument from the hand of a master—not at all as a newly built copy. We believe it sounded then as it does today, even if we naturally can’t say this with absolute assurance.

The city of Füssen in the south of Germany and especially the northern Italian cities, such as Venice, Padua, but also Rome, were in close contact with each other regarding the construction of lutes. The Hellmer lute is therefore presented with music by Italian composers who enjoyed great popularity at the time, because they appeared in several tablature prints, partly also in Germany. The works of Vincenzo Galilei, Santino Garsi, Laurencini, and Girolamo Kapsberger are among the highlights of lute music around 1600.

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