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The queens passed to their own apartments, accompanied by them music of theorbos and lutes; the king found his musketeers awaiting him on the grand flight of steps, for M.
Because of their thicker tops and sturdier bracing, theorbos and archlutes do not require such accommodation.
One must look back as far as the Baroque period in European music for a time when plucked and bowed strings were routinely partnered in the same ensembles ( and the lutes and theorbos of Bach's day were derived from ancient Eastern models, among them the sarod.
The 40-strong choir will be directed by Jeffrey Skidmore and will be accompanied by two organs, two theorbos, a bass viol, and a great bass viol.
Although scholars might quibble about some of the details, the production was a real success, thanks in part to the strongest cast vocally the company has yet assembled, as well as to the animated, if slightly driven, musical direction of Herve Niquet, who augmented the excellent players of Tafelmusik with some musicians (there were no fewer than four theorbos and three harpsichords) from the French period-instrument ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel.
Billed as a "Festa Italiana," this event was a riotous celebration of dance, song, and commedia dell'arte, all surrounded by a menagerie of chitarras--small "alla spagnolas" guitars--dwarfed by giraffelike chitarrones (theorbos) with six-foot-long necks, along with the miniature Baroque harp called the arpa doppia and a lirone, a rare gambalike instrument with thirteen strings.
Although Christensen's note mentions 16 violins, 5 violas, 4 cellos, 4 double basses, 3 theorbos and 2 harpsichords, the actual list of violinists' and violists' names does not quite add up!
While Italian and French sources from around 1600 evince a gravitation toward theorbos, archlutes, and other extended bass instruments, most of the English music of this time calls for lutes of from six to ten fretted courses.
Here his topic is the versions of Lawes's Royal Consort, a large collection of four-part dance pieces that exists in two different scorings: the "old" for two trebles, tenor, and bass, and the "new" for two trebles and two basses, both with a basso continuo for two theorbos. In 1995, as part of the 350th-anniversary commemoration, Fretwork published Pinto's editions of both versions and also his monograph on Lawes's instrumental ensemble music (For ye Violls: The Consort and Dance Music of William Lawes [Richmond, England: Fretwork Press, 1995]).
(These viols operate as equals, each moving freely between bass register and tenor.) The use of two theorbos gives splendid sonority to the ensemble.