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:: Programmes with Lute


Ariel AbramovichJohn Potter

John Potter's exploration of the lute song repertoire began with Stephen Stubbs and Tragicomedia, with whom he made several recordings in the 1980s. For the last three years John has worked with Argentinean lutenist Ariel Abramovich on programmes of Dowland and Campion; most recently this duo (pictured above) has been joined by Jacob Heringman for programmes with two lutes, and by Trio Mediaeval's Anna Maria Friman. This quartet has recorded Josquin and Victoria for ECM and is about to embark on a project that programmes lute songs alongside new music devised for them by Tony Banks, John Paul Jones and Sting. There are many ways of presenting this music and programmes are always evolving and being newly devised (a Morales programme is in development at the moment). In addition to 15th and 16th century programmes with one or two lutes, the larger groups will be doing the following 2 programmes in the forthcoming season:


1:Amores Pasados

Anna Maria Friman
(voice & Hardanger fiddle)

John Potter (voice)

Ariel Abramovich & Jacob Heringman
(vihuelas & lutes)


Songs on the subject of lost love by Thomas Campion, John Dowland, Tony Banks, John Paul Jones and Anon: this programme brings together for the first time songs written and arranged specially for this unique ensemble by Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks,

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and Sting, alongside music by the great English and Spanish renaissance songwriters including Dowland and Campion. The inspiration for this programme is John Paul Jones’ set of three Spanish lovesongs written for Red Byrd and Tragicomedia (here re-arranged for two voices, two lutes and Hardanger fiddle); Tony Banks has set three poems by Campion which are performed alongside some of the Campion originals and Sting has contributed an exquisite ballad to a text of his own.

2: Secret History: sacred music by Josquin and Victoria

Anna Maria Friman (soprano)

John Potter (tenor)

Ariel Abramovich & Jacob Heringman (lutes & vihuelas)

The 'Amores Pasados' quartet first got together (with Lee Santana) to record an album of sacred music by Josquin and Victoria. This ECM album, provisionally entitled Secret History, is the first step in a major exploration of the renaissance 'intabulation' repertoire. The title refers to the fact that most renaissance a cappella polyphony actually had a much longer life as source material for singers and lute or vihuela players to arrange as they pleased. This has been largely hidden from musical history as the music survives only in lute or vihuela notation, the so-called secondary sources which most musicologists can't read. The polyphonic capacity of the plucked instruments enables the performance of pieces in a large number of parts with (in this ensemble) only four musicians. The programme contains several of Josquin's great motets (including his lament on the death of Ockeghem) placed in the context of Victoria's Missa Surge Propera. The paring of these two composers who lived 100 years apart is inspired by the two composers' music both figuring in the early 17th century Paston Manuscript.