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Ars longa see theorbo specialist Elizabeth Kenny perform a typically inventive recital of diverse repertoire spanning five centuries. The theorbo’s eccentric appearance and tuning belies its expressive and delicate qualities; its versatility extends to beautiful melodies, experimental harmonies and a wonderfully resonant bass. The recital takes the listener from the early avant-garde repertoire for the instrument of Kapsperger and Piccinini to the new and imaginative sounds explored by today’s composers. Taken from his 2011 work Since it was the day of preparation… James MacMillan’s motet is a haunting and melancholy piece in which the theorbo acts as an emblem of human fragility and sadness. Benjamin Oliver wrote Extending from the inside specifically for Kenny, who relishes the unique challenge of combining elements of funk guitar with the Baroque tradition of ground bass. Kenny also inspired Nico Muhly’s Berceuse, a piece which exploits the unconventional tuning system and expressive possibilities of the theorbo to powerful effect.

"She frames the premieres with toccatas that sound like improvisations, hypnotic chaconnes that weave around repeated bass lines, and Robert de Visée’s lovely tribute to his fellow Frenchman, Les Sylvains de Mr Couperin."
The Guardian
"She frames the premieres with toccatas that sound like improvisations, hypnotic chaconnes that weave around repeated bass lines, and Robert de Visée’s lovely tribute to his fellow Frenchman, Les Sylvains de Mr Couperin."
The Observer
"Kenny partners elegantly turned early baroque pieces by Piccinini, Kapsberger and de Visée with new work...Kenny’s playing is, as usual, sublime."
The Sunday Times
"This era-spanning album is a triumph...Kenny's performances are superb, technically assured in the trickiest variations, and always with a sense of spontaneous re-creation."
BBC Music Magazine
"Kenny achieves similar magic all the way through the album...The intimate recording means we don’t miss anything of the theorbo’s deeply satisfying depth and range."
BBC Radio 3
"...Benjamin Oliver’s spirited ‘Extending from the Inside’ is built on a bass line that supports intricate rhythmic lines, and some wild strumming that verges on shredding. Kenny was having great fun..."
ClevelandClassical.com
"“Elizabeth Kenny’s playing throughout is all that one could ask for; it is hard to imagine a better case being made for either the value of the theorbo’s traditional repertoire or its modern possibilities.”"
MusicWeb International
"4.5* : Kenny shows herself to be adept in the ornate counterpoint that shows the theorbo to be much more than a harmony instrument."
All Music, 1 October 2019
"Album of the Week: It spans five centuries of very diverse music from the theorbo specialist renowned for her inventive programming."
BBC Radio Scotland 'Classics Unwrapped', 17 November 2019
"Recording of the Year: Kenny’s playing is perceptive and assured throughout and there is much to admire and enjoy ..."
MusicWeb International, 2 December 2019
"Usually just heard adding a bit of a twang to a Baroque orchestra, it is good to hear the theorbo in a solo role. Elizabeth Kenny plays with a refined sense of musical structure and sensitivity."
Andrew Benson-Wilson blog, 2 February 2020