• Ars longa: Old and new music for theorbo

    Elizabeth Kenny

    Ars longa: Old and new music for theorbo 1 cd CKD603
    Linn Records

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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.