Sunday, October 3, 2010

I have been thinking for the last couple of days about the intersection of lutes and the emergency services. I have not been thinking about it very hard, because, as you can imagine, there's not many places they meet.

One is the diary entry that records that Inigo Jones, architect and designer of Stuart masques was sent to see the constable because the theorbo he was importing might be 'some engine brought from Popish countries to destroy the king.' (But it's abbreviated, so it might not even be constable.)

The other is this amazing picture from the Lute Society Journal. You can see this fireman rescuing a lute and an end table from a fire at the library in Linkoping, Sweden in 1996. According to the article inside the lute is by a maker called Raphael Mest, (c1590-after1658). The two headed arrangement which you can just about see would not be common in southern Germany, so I wonder if it was added later for a collector because the 2 peg-box arrangement looks kind of cool. Anyway, thanks to this fireman we'll never know the answer to the question 'What's the difference between a 10 or 11 course lute they'd be making in Fussen in the early 1600's and a 12-course two headed Dutch lute? (The answer, adapted from the viola joke repertoire, would be the one burns longer, but there is also 'holds more beer' etc.)

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