A Chest of Lutes – English Lute Music up to Dowland with Lukas Henning

Renaissance Lute by Bob van de Kerckhove; Photo: André Wagenzik

26-27 January 2019

The title page to John Dowlands 'The Second Booke of Songs' which contains »Lacrime«, is ornamented by a music riddle. A short canon à 3 with the words »Praise GOD vpon the Lute and Violl« underlait – with some divergence from the original psalm, which calls for psalteries and harps. Indeed does this psalm illustrate the three-fold relationship between voice, viol and lute in Elizabethan musical life: Dowland's prints by their typographical format  just needs to be placed on a round table to be performable by  any group of  musicians who are free to decide if they want to sing, pluck or bow away. As lute players we tend to see our ability to take part in a consort  limited to a part provided in tabulature. Even the famous Lacrime or Seaven Teares, both staples of the lute (song) repertoire, eventually ended up in the domain of a chest of viols, which just grants very limited space to a lonely, hopelessly out-drowned plucker. Nonetheless the title page reads:»[…] set forth for the Lute, Viols, or Violons, in five parts.«
 Besides the individual lessons we like to offer a seat in a  »Chest of Lutes« to each participant. The five sizes of lutes required will be provided along with tabulatures from the Seaven Teares mentioned above and some books of songs. Reading from staff notation or polyphonic play is not required to take part, so that also new starters can play in our consort. The individual lessons will be taught with the whole group listening. Here we'll focus on English solo-repertoire: Dowland, Johnson, contemporaries and predecessors, and on songs, self accompanied or providing the accompaniment for somebody else. A reader with repertoire ideas on different levels of skill will be send to the participants ahead of time. 


Lukas Henning studied at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, a leading research and teaching institution on the field of historically informed performance practice, where he received his Master of Arts - degree in 2016. He specialises on the Lute and Theorbo, which he studied under Hopkinson Smith. He received additional teaching from various influential scholars and performers, such as Crawford Young, Jesper Christensen or Anthony Rooley. Since 2011 Lukas Henning has been performing throughout central and northern Europe.

He created me:mo, a website for art & music with regular episodes on Renaissance lute music.


The lute workshops start on Friday night with a mini-recital by Lukas Henning. Guest s are welcome. A donation equal to a normal concert ticket is asked for. Please send an e-mail if you plan to come. No walk ins!