This recording of lute music may be of most interest to fans of the lute and of the Renaissance-Baroque transition era, but it will be of considerable interest to them: it marks the first recording of the Libro d'intavolature di liuto, or Book of Lute Tablatures, of Vincenzo Galilei (1584). Galilei was the father of none other than astronomer Galileo. The work is given the title The Well-Tempered Lute here; that was not Galilei's title, but the music was apparently the first collection intended to demonstrate the possibilities of equal temperament that Bach would exploit so dramatically a century and a half later. Some scholars have opined that this was a primarily theoretical work; as music, it is both technically difficult and a little monotonous, consisting of groups of dances that may or may not have been danced to. Lutenist Žak Ozmo makes a good case for these little pieces as performer's music, differentiating learned counterpoint from works of a more expressive character.
L’Avventura London and their director Zak Ozmo make their debut on Hyperion with a lusciously saucy album of Portuguese love songs from the eighteenth century. Described by a contemporary visitor as ‘voluptuous and bewitching’, these modinhas have an uncertain genesis, but it is likely they reached Portugal from its overseas dominion of Brazil. Two highly contrasting styles predominate: one melancholic and lyrical, and the other bright and rhythmic, often with syncopated rhythms in the voice. Also interspersed are instrumental works from the period.