A Lute Summit

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
November 20, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — The five 'summiteers' have been studying with and teaching one another for 20 years or so. They get along pretty well in spite of having worked all over the globe and developed some very specific ideas on how the lute is to be played best.

And they'll make beautiful music together this weekend.

If you've ever wondered what a theorbo is or just how big a lute can be and still be called a lute, this is the concert for you.

In round-robin style, Paul Berget, Rockford Mjos, Phillip Rukavina, Richard Griffith and Thomas Walker, Jr. will play selections from the Renaissance by Dowland and Praetorius, as well as the Baroque including music by Vivaldi and Bach's best-friend, Silvius Leopold Weiss.

And the music will take on the sound of a symphony when the five pick up such varied instruments as the diminutive soprano lute -- weighing only a few pounds -- or the bass lute, that can only be played covering half the performer's face behind its belly.

It's even rumored the 90-centimeter contrabass-lute -- named "Big Bertha" -- will also make an appearance.

They may not have roadies to carry all those instruments, but all five lutenists stopped by MPR to play a few samples from the upcoming Lute Summit and talk about the rarefied world of a lutenist with Classical MPR's Alison Young.


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