Aufs Lautenwerk by Daniel Lippel

Aufs Lautenwerk by Daniel LippelAufs Lautenwerk presents three beloved masterworks in their original keys on a classical guitar refretted in Baroque well temperament. They were written at and for the keyboard, where each key has its own unique Affekt. Aufs Lautenwerk is a co-release with John Schneider’s Los Angeles based MicroFest Records and available in digital format through their catalogue.” – New Focus Records

Read this wonderfully detailed article on the project via Microfest Records, listen on Spotify or buy the album via the New Focus page.

This is a fantastic project by Daniel Lippel where he performs three major works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) in their original keys on a classical guitar refretted in Baroque well temperament. Lippel’s playing is particularly well crafted and presented in terms of phrasing, articulation, and musical ideas. He’s highly creative throughout with interesting ornamentation, figuration, and articulations. It’s a great mix of modern playing in terms of guitar technique but clearly influenced by early music performance practice. I hear a lot of lute-style improvisatory ornamentation but delivered with a clarity and sound of a keyboard performance. It’s a must-listen for guitarists and one of the most interesting performances I’ve heard of these works without stepping outside of a refined Baroque aesthetic. After listening to Lippel’s performances you might find some of your favourite recordings to be quite bland in comparison. This is how I want to hear early music and Bach on the modern guitar.

Aufs Lautenwerk by Daniel Lippel is one of the most creative, interesting, and well performed albums of recent times. Essential listening for guitarists but enjoyable for anyone who wants to hear great performances of Bach.

For those unfamiliar with well temperament, below is a brief explanation via Lippel on New Focus. Just to simplify it for students a bit, today we use equal temperament which is a tuning system that divides the octave into 12 semitones of equal size. This allows instruments such as the keyboard to play in all keys with minimal flaws in the intonation. This is in contrast to early tuning systems that enabled either more pure intervals or unique characteristics to individual keys.

Composer/critic Kyle Gann has said, “Playing Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier in today’s equal temperament is like exhibiting Rembrandt paintings with wax paper taped over them.” The same may well be said of Bach played on the modern equal tempered guitar. On this recording, Daniel Lippel and John Schneider present three of Bach’s most beloved works in the lautenwerk/plucked string repertoire, the first two lute suites and the Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro, in Kirnberger III temperament. Johann Kirnberger was a student of Bach’s and a theorist, and developed a Well Temperament that included one pure third and a variable series of wider thirds through the circle of fifths. Well Temperaments balance the ability to navigate between and perform in all twelve keys with the preservation of the unique affect of each key as framed by the interval characteristics of their core harmonic areas.

Here’s a brief Youtube sample of him performing on the classical guitar refretted in Baroque well temperament

Repertoire & Track List

Suite in Em, BWV 996

  • |1| Praeludio (2:47)
  • |2| Allemande (2:57)
  • |3| Courante (2:31)
  • |4| Sarabande (3:35)
  • |5| Bourée (1:12)
  • |6| Gigue (3:16)

Sonata in Cm, BWV 997

  • |7| Preludio (3:02)
  • |8| Fuga (7:23)
  • |9| Sarabande (4:18)
  • |10| Gigue/Double (3:11)

Prelude, Fuga & Allegro in Eb, BWV 998

  • |11| Prelude (2:21)
  • |12| Fuga (6:18)
  • |13| Allegro (3:22)

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