Sono Luminus is proud to release Two Lutes: Lute Duets from England's Golden Age, a wonderful collection of enchanting music performed by lute virtuosos Ronn McFarlane and William Simms.
As stated by Ronn McFarlane, "Elizabethan lute duets yield the most companionable and friendly kind of music-making for the players. In equal duets each lutenist plays nearly the same music, alternating playing the melody and the harmonic accompaniment. It feels like a conversation, with each lutenist posing musical questions and answers throughout. Each player is free to improvise upon the written part, so the conversation can be very individual and spontaneous! On the other hand, in the treble-ground style of lute duet, one lutenist plays a single line melodic part (usually including some virtuosic passages) while the second lutenist plays a chordal accompaniment. Sometimes the chordal accompaniment is very simple and repetitive, and it is likely that a skilled player would vary his part to make a more musically satisfying accompaniment."
GRAMMY-nominated lutenist, Ronn McFarlane strives to bring the lute - the most popular instrument of the Renaissance - into today's musical mainstream and make it accessible to a wider audience. He graduated with honors from Shenandoah Conservatory and continued guitar studies at Peabody Conservatory before turning his full attention and energy to the lute in 1978. The following year, Mr. McFarlane began to perform solo recitals on the lute and became a member of the Baltimore Consort. Since then, he has toured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with the Baltimore Consort and as a soloist. Recently, Ronn has been engaged in composing new music for the lute, building on the tradition of the lutenist/composers of past centuries. His original compositions are the focus of his solo CD, Indigo Road (DSL-90701), which received a GRAMMY Award Nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2009. His CD release, One Morning (DSL-92111), features "Ayreheart," a new ensemble brought together to perform Ronn's new music.
Williams Simms is an active performer of early music. Equally adept at lute, theory and baroque guitar, he appears regularly with the Bach Sinfonia, Apollo's Fire, Harmonious Blacksmith, and The Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. He has performed numerous operas, cantatas and oratorios with such ensembles as The Washington National Opera, The Cleveland Opera, Opera Lafayette, and American Opera Theatre. Venues include The National Cathedral, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Library of Congress, The Corcoran Gallery, The Kennedy Center and The Barns at Wolftrap. He has toured and recorded with the Baltimore Consort as well as with Apollo's Fire. Mr. Simms received a Bachelor of Music from the College of Wooster and a Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory. He serves on the faculties of Mount St. Mary's University and Hood College, and is the founder and director of the Hood Early Music Ensemble.