Many years ago (it must have been in 1983, I guess) I met Narciso Yepes in Torino, Italy at the end of one of his concerts at the Conservatorio. It was my first one and I was a great "fan" of him. At that time I didn't know of his lute recording, but I had listen to his complete Bach lute works recording on the 10 strings guitar at least 100 times. So I told him and I expressed my enthusiasm for it and he got back to me (I was 17 years old...) with a great smile and said: "throw it away, It's not good at all."

I had the pleasure to study (10 strings guitar, at that time) for a few years with one of his Italian students and met Narciso Yepes a few times more: he never meant too much of that recording, as far as I can remember. But he was a true pioneer and really meant his 10 strings guitar as a way to stop "cutting away" while translating the so-called Back lute works for a 6 strings guitar. I still own those LP's and still believe that his interpretation was by far much more "musical" than what Segovia did in many cases. His recording of the Telemann (?) 4 Partitas together with Godelieve Monden is not bad at all, and (as far as I know) there's no similar recording on Baroque lutes.


Eugene C. Braig IV on 8-12-2009 19:36 wrote:
Segovia certainly didn't play Bach on any incarnation of lute...unless you
count modern guitars built to a Spanish paradigm as lutes.  Walter Gerwig
certainly deserves some recognition for an early lute-driven effort at Bach.

For what it's worth, the Yepes article in Wikipedia offers "[Yepes] was also
the first person to record the complete lute works of Bach on period
instruments (14-course baroque lute)."

That same Wikipedia also offers this review: "[other guitarist's] exciting
and perceptive performances of the lute works, which were recorded between
1981 and 1984, are light years better than the stilted, drab, and often
utterly stillborn interpretations of Narciso Yepes, who does not sound by
any means comfortable playing the lute (American record guide, 1984)."


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 1:20 PM
Subject: [LUTE] Re: Narciso Yepes and the lute

   Yes, I don't expect it to be up to much, but he did at least give it a
go when no-one else would. Deserves recognition, I think.
Yes, but in context.  Pretty sure Segovia precedes him, my LPS are at home
(I write this at the library); I have some Yepes and some Segovia LP's
acquired in the early 60's, with a broad span of repetoire, including some
vihuella and lute material - L da Milan and Bach for certain.

Nigel North was another pioneer, I have at least one LP of his on theorbo
from then as well.
Dana Emery

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