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MP3 Clive Titmuss - The Vihuela Collection

Spanish Renaissance musicians cultivated a unique instrument called the vihuela, an early guitar whose abstract style fused Iberian and Italian vocal and instrumental ideas with a dark Moorish modality.

9 MP3 Songs in this album (24:33) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: Early Music, CLASSICAL: Renaissance

The vihuela music of the Spanish Renaissance period was published between 1536 and 1576 in seven books. The most accomplished and important composers of the literature are presented in The Vihuela Collection: Luis Milan (1536), Luis de Narvaez (1538) and Alonso Mudarra (1546). These composers established the early guitar as a focus of composition in dance and variation forms, transcriptions and elaborations of vocal music, and abstract fantasia writing. Their adventurous and technically sophisticated style is a milestone in the development of Western instrumental music, with some of the first variation forms ever to appear in print. The native Iberian spirit, tinged with a blend of North African Islamic elements and the vitality of the Italian Renaissance, endows the music with its emotional and musical maturity.


Clive Titmuss was born in Ilford, England in 1951, and came to Canada in 1955. He went to the University of Calgary as a musicology and guitar student and later studied the lute and related subjects in California, England and finally at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland, studying under Eugen Dombois and Hopkinson Smith.

Clive co-founded the non-profit Society of Friends of Early Music Studio in Surrey, B.C. in 1987, and performs the masterworks of the lute and early guitar repertoire. Later he began to study lutherie and has built more than 150 period guitars and lutes on models from the 16th to 19th centuries.

He has performed the solo lute literature in literally hundreds of concerts and he takes great pride in playing music on period instruments of his own construction, designed on historic models.

His work has concentrated on music by Bach, Weiss and Reusner, and especially on the lute music of the 17th century by Bittner, Vallet, Dowland, Galilei and the French school founded by the Gaultiers, Gallot and Charles Mouton for which his has built specialized instruments .

Recent recitals and recordings have included projects highlighting the substantial vihuela repertoirs from Spain and four suites from the large 17th century manuscript collection by Esias Reusner. Even though everything that could be done with a guitar has been done and it seems pointless, he still plays it anyway.

He has established his workshop and studio in Kelowna, overlooking Lake Okanagan in southern British Columbia’s mountain desert country. Here, he builds lutes, period guitars, and does some restoration work on historic keyboard instruments – and he teaches a small number of dedicated lute students in his studio. His recordings have been heard on radio in half a dozen countries, and his instruments are played by musicians around the world.

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