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Paul O'Dette

Few instrumentalists establish themselves with such firm authority as Paul O'Dette has on the lute. In fact, one writer described him as "the clearest case of genius ever to touch his instrument." In fact, O'Dette helped define the technical and stylistic standards to which twenty-first century performers of early music aspire. In doing so, he helped infuse the performance practice movement with a perfect combination of historical awareness, idiomatic accuracy, and ambitious self-expression. "I remember when I first started playing the lute," O'Dette once recalled, "the common perception of Renaissance music was that it was kind of pre-expression -- that people didn't use dynamics, they didn't use tone colors.... [But] the more we've learned, we've realized that in fact all of these expressive devices were being used throughout the 16th century." O'Dette deserves much of the credit for bringing this aspect of early music to the fore of performance practice.

O'Dette's musical career can be traced at least back to high school, during which time he played electric guitar in a rock band. Frustrated with the lack of pedagogical consensus within the rock guitar world, and seeking a higher level of technical rigor and discipline, O'Dette took a friend's advice and sought out instruction from a classical guitar teacher in order to improve his rock playing. His first assignment under his new teacher was to learn some Renaissance lute pieces arranged for guitar. He was immediately transfixed by the sonorities of the Renaissance, and sought out recordings of the music on authentic instruments. Over the next few decades, O'Dette's collection expanded to include over 20 instruments, including a lute, an archlute, a chittarone, and a Baroque guitar.

In 1976, O'Dette became director of early music at the Eastman School of Music. He has subsequently appeared on over 100 recordings, both as a featured performer and with such prestigious company as Nigel Rogers, Christopher Hogwood, Jordi Savall, Trevor Pinnock, and Gustav Leonhardt. Among his accolades are several nominations for Record of the Year for his highly respected 1995 recording of John Dowland's complete works for lute; the next year his CD of Purcell songs, a collaboration with Sylvia McNair, won a Grammy.

Perhaps O'Dette's style can be described as deeply human. Crucial to his sound is his awareness of the ethnic and dance topics that figure into the music. The dance gestures that correspond-- albeit sometimes in only a stylized way -- to the musical figures, find expression in the contour and phrasing of O'Dette's lines. He makes another enlightening comparison, as well, one based on writings contemporaneous to the music: "All of the 16th century sources say that the best instrumentalists are those who can make you believe you are listening to words -- that the best instrumental playing strives to imitate the voice in every way possible." This appealing (and historically informed) philosophy of performance and O'Dette's impeccable technique, have made his performance of early music a creative, rather than a curatorial, endeavor.
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bach: Lute Works, Vol. 1

Title: Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995

1. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: I. Prelude

2. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: II. Allemande

3. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: III. Courante

4. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: IV. Sarabande

5. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: V. Gavotte I & II

6. Suite For Lute In G Minor, Bwv 995: VI. Gigue

Title: Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171)

7. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): I. Prelude

8. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): II. Louré

9. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): III. Gavotte on Rondeau

10. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): IV. Menuet I & II

11. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): V. Bourree

12. Partita For Lute In E Major, Bwv 1006a (Bc L171): VI. Gigue

Title: Sonata For Solo Violin No. 1 In G Minor, Bwv 1001

13. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 1 In G Minor, Bwv 1001: I. Adagio

14. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 1 In G Minor, Bwv 1001: II. Fuga (Allegro)

15. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 1 In G Minor, Bwv 1001: II. Siciliana

16. Sonata For Solo Violin No. 1 In G Minor, Bwv 1001: III. Presto

x

Track List: Bacheler: The Bachelar's Delight - Lute Music of Daniel Bacheler

1. Daniells Jigge, For Consort: Daniells Jigge

2. Pavan, For Lute (No. 2 From Selected Works For Lute): Pavan

3. Galliard, For Lute (No. 23 From Selected Works For Lute): Galliard

4. Galliard, For Lute (No. 21 From Selected Works For Lute): Galliard

5. Mounsieurs Almaine, For Lute (No. 40a From Selected Works For Lute): Mounsieurs Almaine

6. Pavan, For Lute (No. 10 From Selected Works For Lute): Pavan

7. Galliard, For Lute (No. 27 From Selected Works For Lute): Galliard

8. En Me Revenant, For Lute (No. 43 From Selected Works For Lute): En Me Revenant

9. A Pavin, For Lute (No. 18 From Selected Works For Lute): A Pavin

10. Galliard, For Lute (No. 32 From Selected Works For Lute): Galliard

11. Fin De Galliarde, For Lute (No. 42 From Selected Works For Lute): Fin De Galliarde

12. Prelude, For Lute (No. 47 From Selected Works For Lute): Prelude

13. Fantasie, For Lute (No. 1 From Selected Works For Lute): Fantasie

15. La Jeune Fillette, For Lute (No. 41 From Selected Works For Lute): La Jeune Fillette

16. Pavan, For Lute (No. 13a From Selected Works For Lute): Pavan

18. Pavan, For Lute (No. 6 From Selected Works For Lute): Pavan

19. A Galliard Upon A Galliard By John Dowland, For Lute (App. 2 From Selected Works For Lute): A Galliard

20. Almaine, For Lute (No. 35 From Selected Works For Lute): Almaine

21. Courante, For Lute (No. 36 From Selected Works For Lute): Courante

22. Volta, For Lute (No. 38 From Selected Works For Lute): Volta

23. Courante, For Lute (No. 37 From Selected Works For Lute): Courante

24. Prelude, For Lute (No. 48 From Selected Works For Lute): Prelude

25. A Pavin By Mr Daniell Bachler, For Lute (No. 47 From Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book): Pavan

26. A Galyard By Mr Daniell Bachler, For Lute (No. 57 From Jane Pickeringe's Lute Book): Galliard

x

Track List: Baroque Lute Music, Vol. 1

Title: Toccata Arpeggiata For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone)

1. Toccata Arpeggiata For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone): Toccata Arpeggiata

Title: Galliarde For Chitarrone No. 11

2. Galliarde For Chitarrone No. 11: Gagliarda 11a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 5

3. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 5: Toccata 5a

Title: Aria Di Fiorenza For Chitarrone

4. Aria Di Fiorenza For Chitarrone: Aria Di Fiorenza

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 1

5. Toccata For Lute No. 1: Toccata 1

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 1a

6. Gagliarda For Lute No. 1a: Gagliarda 1a

Title: Corrente For Lute No 1a

7. Corrente For Lute No 1a: Corrente 1a

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 6

8. Toccata For Lute No. 6: toccata 6

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 10a

9. Gagliarda For Lute No. 10a: Gagliarda 10 A

Title: Corrente For Lute No 7a

10. Corrente For Lute No 7a: Corrente 7a

Title: Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS)

11. Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS): Corrente 2a (Modena Ms)

Title: Ciachone, For Chitarrone

12. Ciachone, For Chitarrone: Ciachone

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 5

13. Toccata For Lute No. 5: Toccata 5

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 12a

14. Gagliarda For Lute No. 12a: Gagliarda 12a

Title: Corrente For Lute No 12a

15. Corrente For Lute No 12a: Corrente 12a

Title: Toccata For Lute No. 3 (from D'intavolatura Di Lauto, 1611)

16. Toccata For Lute No. 3 (from D'intavolatura Di Lauto, 1611): Toccata 3

Title: Gagliarda For Lute No. 4a

17. Gagliarda For Lute No. 4a: Gagliarda 4a

Title: Corrente For Lute No. 11a

18. Corrente For Lute No. 11a: Corrente 11a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 1a

19. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 1a: Toccata 1a

Title: Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS)

20. Corrente For Chitarrone No. 2a (Modena MS): Corrente 2a

Title: Toccata For Chitarrone No. 2a

21. Toccata For Chitarrone No. 2a: Toccata 2a

Title: Bergamasca For Chitarrone

22. Bergamasca For Chitarrone: Bergamasca

Title: Kapsberger For Chitarrone

23. Kapsberger For Chitarrone: Kapsberger

Title: Colascione For Chitarrone

24. Colascione For Chitarrone: Colascione

Title: Canario For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone)

25. Canario For Chitarrone (From Book 1 Of D'intavolatura Di Chitarrone): Canario

x

Track List: Dowland: Complete Lute Works, Vol. 2

10. Galliard (on "Walsingham"), For Lute In G Minor, P 31: As I Went To Walsingham

20. Sir Henry Guilford His Almain, For Lute (probably Authentic): Sir Henry Guilforde, His Almain

24. Fantasia, For Lute In G Major, P 1: A Fantasie (Fantasie No.1)

x

Track List: Robin Is To The Greenwood Gone: Elizabethan Lute Music

Composer: Daniel Bacheler
Title: Mounsier's Almaine, For Lute

1. Mounsier's Almaine, For Lute: Mounsier's Almaine, For Lute

Composer: Paul O'dette
Title: Ballad Tunes, For Lute

2. Ballad Tunes, For Lute: Ballad Tunes, For Lute

Title: Early Elizabethan Music, For Lute

3. Early Elizabethan Music, For Lute: Early Elizabethan Music, For Lute

Composer: Anonymous, Scottish
Title: Work(s)

4. Work(s): Work(s): A Scots Tune / Corne Yards / A Scots Tune / Gypsies Lilt / A Scots Tune / A Scots Tune

5. Work(s): Work(s): The Fairy Rownde / A Paven / Galliard To The Paven Before / Walsingham / Muy Linda

Composer: Gregory Huwet
Title: Fantasie, For Lute

6. Fantasie, For Lute: Fantasie, For Lute

Composer: Thomas Robinson
Title: Work(s)

7. Work(s): Work(s): Lantero / The Spanish Pavin / Robin Is To The Greenwood Gone

Comments

Report as inappropriate
This is great music. I could care less about a bio and I am familiar with the composer- only the best that ever lived.
Report as inappropriate
johnnyohania n
Ok it's been a year and still no resolving the problem with Paul O'Dette's bio. We need to know. Pandora please get you heads out of your collective a s s and fix it now! Or else, I'm otta here Ok it's an empty threat, I have no where else to go.
Report as inappropriate
jwald540
what happened to the full bio of O'Dette? it lands here instead.

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