Suite in C minor by Esias Reusner
The great C minor Paduana (Pavane) beginning the suite is an extended essay on the bass line which underlies the rest of the work. Reusner enlivens the simple chordal texture with animated suspensions and increasing rhythmic intensity until the emotionally charged final section, in which the rhythm is icreasingly dominated by more rapid values and almost every chord and note is ornamented, until the quiet final phrase. The Allemande and Courante are built on precisely the same harmonic structure, acting almost as a variation on what has already been heard. Reusner frequently employs a favorite device -- putting the chord tones in close spacing very low on the lute, so that the player is forced to crowd fingers in an unidiomatic but rich-sounding imitation of a French style of writing then in vogue in viol and harpsichord music. In the lighter Sarabande, new combinations of melodic material are heard with quirky cross-accented rhythms. The Gigue is a final masterpiece, using starkly simple rhythms, but a tremendous variety of texture, from single notes to chords of six tones, underlined by novel French techniques of strumming the strings back and forth with the index finger. After a dramatic rhetorical pause, the suite closes with an ambiguous major-then-minor chord cadence unique to Reusner.
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