Francesco da Milano was a composer of the Italian Renaissance period, and like many other musicians of that time, a poet, artist and writer to boot. His extraordinary talents are well exemplified in his lute works, a large selection of ricercares and fantasias. At a time when instrumental and vocal music was inextricably linked, the fantasia, a new invention of the late 1400s, was reminiscent of vocal polyphony, as it strove to imitate another innovation of the period – the madrigal. Both the ricercare and fantasia are highly inventive, consisting of various imitations along the lines of a vocal motet. Da Milano was a master of innovation, and his astonishingly varied melodic lines were highly praised by contemporaries in his time.
World-class lutist Sandro Volta has delved into Arthur J. Ness’s authoritative edition of Da Milano’s lute music, choosing ten fantasias and twelve ricercares to enchant and delight the listener. An experienced recording artist, Volta’s repertoire spans many periods on a variety of plucked instruments, but he specialises in Renaissance and Baroque lute music from Italy. He has a profound understanding of the relationship between music and the written word, having published an important study on 17th-century music and poetry, and it is this understanding that underpins his assured performance on this recording.
Francesco da Milano lived from 1497 till 1543. He worked as a composer and lute player at the Papal court and his fame spread over Europe, earning him the epithet “il Divino”.
His instrumental music for lute is influenced by the vocal practice of his time, notably the madrigal, whose polyphonic writing he imitated in his many Ricercares and Fantasias. These works had a profound influence on the development of purely instrumental music in the Renaissance.
Master lutenist Sandro Volta published a book on the relationship between music and poetry in the renaissance, and his knowledge is showing in the vocal quality of his interpretations of these beautiful, melancholic masterworks for the lute.
- Extensive notes on the composer and pieces, written by the performer
- Biography of the artist
- Recorded in 2014