Dutch minimalist composer and noted lute player Jozef Van Wissem released his latest album, We Adore You, You Have No Name, back on 9 November via Consouling Sounds. It’s an album as rooted in European cultural history as the lute itself. The lute has been dated all the way back to 3100 B.C. by archeologists, but its heyday was in the Middle Ages when it was frequently used to accompany song in the way in which a guitar or piano is used now. Widespread European use continued into the Baroque period but dropped off towards the end as the keyboard gradually took over as an accompanying instrument.
Van Wissem knows this history very well, and that knowledge plays into the creation of his music. Van Wissem says of the track that we’re premiering today, “‘You Know That I Love You’ is based on the madrigal of the same name by Arcadelt (1557). The book of sheet music for this piece is depicted by Caravaggio in his painting The Lute Player (1596). In December 2017, I was commissioned by the Hermitage in St Petersburg to perform the piece for the event for the final restoration of the painting. So I studied the classical version to perform it. However, confronted with the sound system, acoustics of the museum, and the number of people in the hall, I decided to do a more fluent drone version.”
That version is exceptionally gorgeous, and the new black and white video featuring moribund lilies springing to life amidst the ebb and flow of water is stunning and conveys the emotional intent of the music. Utterly irresistible.