(2011) Pentagram

Lee Santana

... read moreAmerico-German lutenist Lee Santana, often in professional and personal partnership with gambist Hille Perl, has made convincing recordings of Baroque repertory. He also has an interest in contemporary composition for the lute, and this release from the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony partnership...

55′:18″ 14 Songs

1
Lee Santana
Suite Hp (1987): I. Unmeasured Prelude
0:53
2
Lee Santana
Suite Hp (1987): Ii. Chaconny
0:58
3
Lee Santana
Suite Hp (1987): Iii. Plainte
2:44
4
Lee Santana
Suite Hp (1987): Iv. Passacaglia
2:13
5
Lee Santana
Pavane En Forme D'une Complainte (From "Le Secret Des Muses")
5:35
6
Lee Santana
Courante De La Complainte (From "Le Secret Des Muses")
1:48
7
Lee Santana
Volta De La Complainte (From "Le Secret Des Muses")
1:29
8
Lee Santana
Pentagram Suite (1992): I. Prelude
0:56
9
Lee Santana
Pentagram Suite (1992): Ii. Plainte
2:04
10
Lee Santana
Pentagram Suite (1992): Iii. Cantique
2:01
11
Lee Santana
Pentagram Suite (1992): Iv. Querelle
1:21
12
Lee Santana
Pentagram Suite (1992): V. Chaconne De La Complainte
1:06
13
Lee Santana
Guinnevere (2009) - Sonate In Form Einer Erinnerung
18:35
14
Lee Santana
Chaconne
13:35
Released 15 August 2011, ℗ 2011 Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH

Review

Americo-German lutenist Lee Santana, often in professional and personal partnership with gambist Hille Perl, has made convincing recordings of Baroque repertory. He also has an interest in contemporary composition for the lute, and this release from the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony partnership offers a little sample. The centerpiece, and the most compelling item, is the most recent Santana work, Guinnevere (2009). It is based on the Crosby, Stills & Nash song of the same title from the group's 1969 debut LP, and its unorthodox harmonies also attracted jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, who recorded it for the Bitches Brew album but did not release the recording until later. Santana's compositions themselves have the flavor of jazz improvisations, minus the syncopation but applying extended harmony to Baroque vocabularies. It's an interesting combination, and in Guinnevere (the spelling is David Crosby's original) it comes together in a quite rigorous exploration of the tune. An adaptation of a contemporary popular song gets close to a viable "neo-Renaissance" music, for Renaissance secular music itself was often based on vernacular material. The earlier Suite HP (apparently referring to Perl) and Pentagram Suite, applying the same kind of vocabulary to Renaissance dances themselves, aren't quite as inventive, but Santana is a compelling player, and he's backed up here by near-flawless lute recording (not a terribly common thing) from Bavarian Radio, working in the 15th-century Zehntspeicher buildings in Neunkirchen-am-Brand. The only real clinker here is the lute transcription of the Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004; there's nothing wrong with the idea in principle, but it doesn't fit the rather contemplative mood of the whole. A worthwhile choice for fans of this individualistic lutenist.