Jacques le Polonois: Pièces de Luth

Jacques le Polonois: Pièces de Luth
Paul Kieffer
Aevitas AE-12157. 67’13

Screenshot_2016-03-06-08-03-22~2Jacques le Polonois (aka Jakub Polak and Jakub/Jacob/Jacques Reys) was born around 1545 in Poland. He was court lutenist to Henry III (briefly the elected King of Poland before returning to France, with Polonois, where he had inherited the throne) and Henri IV of France. As a lute playing composer, his pieces tested the technical abilities of other players. Much later writers wrote (with uncertain evidence) of his ‘good and quick hand’, mentioning that he ‘got the very soul out of the lute’. His extemporisation skills were praised. He left around 60 works for the lute, nearly half of which are included on this recording, many first recordings. Many include the word Polonaise in the title, referring to his county of origin, rather than the national style of his music, which was firmly French. Versions of his names, Jacob and Reys, also appear in several titles.

His contrapuntal works are cleverly conceived for the lute, using a variety of devices to enable multiple voices to be played. He was clearly fond Continue reading