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Though variant tunings having already appeared during the first years of the sixteenth century, the first part of the seventeenth century saw a great number of tunings emerge, the most successful being those occurring in Pierre Ballard’s 1631 and 1638 publications of Tablatures de Luth de Differents Autheurs sur les Accords Nouveaux. Three out of these four accords nouveaux produce a superb resonance, but all share the disadvantage of being restricted to certain keys, modulation being often accompanied by a distinct deterioration in tone quality. It was no doubt this factor which contributed to their decline in popularity and the subsequent acceptance of the fourth one, the d minor tuning, which was less susceptible to this problem and remained the standard lute tuning until the instrument’s demise in the late eighteenth century.
The accords nouveaux gained widespread acceptance and inspired players to produce some of the most sublime music ever created for the lute – some of which can be heard on this recording, played by the great English lutenist Anthony Bailes.
ANTHONY BAILES first studied guitar, through which he developed a love of lute music. A chance meeting with Diana Poulton resulted in buying a lute and studying with her. In 1971 he was awarded a grant by the Arts Council of Great Britain to further his studies with Eugen Dombois at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland.
Since completing his studies he has toured Europe playing at most major festivals. Of his various recordings, several are considered »milestones« and his interpretations of seventeenth century French and German music are particularly esteemed and have been awarded several prizes. Besides performing and teaching, Anthony Bailes has published music editions and monographs on the lute and its music.