Jacques Le Polonois | Pièces de luth – Paul Kieffer & Jacob Reys

In this much-awaited recording of a neglected but critical area of 16th-century lute repertory and history, Paul Kieffer, a rising young star of the lute world, performs the works of Jacques Le Polonois. Lauded by J.-B. Besard, Marin Mersenne, Mary Burwell’s lute tutor, and several others, Le Polonois was credited with inventing a new style of lute playing, which his successors would further develop into a repertory for the ten- and eleven-course lute.

As his name suggests, he was born in Poland and immigrated to France, where he spent his career as royal lutenist to Kings Henri III and IV. Contemporary accounts refer to his “strong plucking” and remarkable improvisatory abilities. Paul Kieffer performs here 28 pieces by Le Polonois (half of his surviving works), including some of the earliest surviving préludes non mesurés, courantes, and voltes for the lute, and what is most likely the oldest surviving sarabande for any instrument.