Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jozef van Wissem

  • A Rose by Any Other Name: Anonymous Lute Solos of the Golden Age [Incunabulum, 2006] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Rose by Any Other Name: Anonymous Lute Solos of the Golden Age [Incunabulum, 2006]
Twenty-two enduring melodies--sprightly and contemplative, simple and complex--collected in the 16th and 17th centuries by people who could both play the lute and afford such extravagances. Some were composed by noble folk too proud to admit they dabbled in such low pursuits, but most came from minstrels and such so famed in their own era that transcribers didn't bother to record their names--or so believes the annotator, who puckishly signs himself or herself "Anonymous." Four centuries later, even the dance numbers are calming, their beauty sometimes merely pretty after all this time but no less welcome for that, and the most elaborate figurations seem modest, especially given the lute's anachronistically mellow sound. Plus there are those melodies. "Lady Lie Near Me" sets me to humming "Cumberland Mine" every time. A-