Suite in F minor by Esias Reusner
Like the other groups, this suite is built on a single progession, heard at length in the Allemanda and Couranta, but abbreviated in the shorter movements. In this case a scordatura, or re-tuning of the playing strings (out of the first six courses) is required, as well as the re-tuning of two of the lower courses, to the diatonic notes of the key of the piece. With such substantial changes to the normal tuning and the avoidance of so many open strings, the lute takes on a signature timbre which further colours the dark sound of the suite. The Allemanda features a level of ornamentation and rhythmic complexity which is hard to find in Reusner's other works. As with the C minor pieces, many passages descend low into the baritone register. The chromatic Couranta places strong emphasis on the second beat, constantly throwing the listener off balance. In the Sarabanda I have chosen to first play a simplified chordal reduction, then to play Reusner's text with his and other added ornaments in an attempt to underline his extravagantly improvisatory style. In the Gigue it is easy to hear the germ of Bach's French suites (the G major French suite is on this site) with their pseudo-contrapuntal working of essentially homophonic (chordal) material. In this and other pieces, Reusner often places the melody note before the bass, the reverse of the normal French practice, to increase the sensation of rhythmic instability.
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