Paul O'Dette | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paul O'Dette 

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PAUL O'DETTE

Perhaps it's because he started out playing rock 'n' roll guitar, but when Paul O'Dette plays the lute you'll hear little of the conservative pomp and antiquarian bookishness of some of his colleagues' performances. O'Dette's readings of Baroque and Renaissance works are spunky, supple, and subtle; his complex picking and fingering has the effortless flow of good folk music. But O'Dette is in fact a scholar as well as a virtuoso: he's the director of the early-music program at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, and he constistently supplies readable, informative, even amusing liner notes with his records. Though he's a frequent guest with top early-music ensembles like Christopher Hogwood's Academy of Ancient Music and Chicago's Newberry Consort, O'Dette has built a career largely by performing solo on the lute and its cousins the chittarone, orpharion, cittern, and archlute, and that'll be the format here. A string of superb releases on Harmonia Mundi over the last few years has included a number of unaccompanied projects: a version of Giovanni Girolamo (aka Johannes Hieronymus) Kapsberger's unusual Il tedesco della tiorba; a three-disc series of the complete lute works of innovative 16th-century British lutenist, singer, and composer John Dowland; and Dolcissima et amorosa, a stunning collection of early Renaissance music. Saturday, 8 PM, Ramsey Auditorium, Fermilab, Kirk and Pine, Batavia; 630-840-2787. John Corbett

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Hanya Chala.

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