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Catherine Liddell has nurtured a special interest in and passion for performing 17th century French lute music. Over the years she has developed three what might be called “literary” programs combining readings and performance.

A Musical Portrait of a 17th century Lady
This program incorporates excerpts from the letters of Liselotte von der Pfalz, who was given in marriage to Louis XIV's brother Phillippe. She wrote hundreds of letters to family members in Germany about life at court. The music for this program is chosen that has direct connections to moments and people in her life. Excerpts from the letters are read between the groups of pieces.

The Reluctant Spy
This is a completely fabricated story that “explains" the existence of an enormous collection of mostly 17th century French lute music, over 400 pieces, seemingly copied into the manuscript by one person. The story involves a lute player who is sent as a gift to the court of the Elector of Heidelberg. He's there actually to carry out espionage, only reluctantly, as his love is back at the French court. Poems expressing his state of mind are read, interspersed among the pieces.

La Rhétorique des Dieux
This program explores the 17th century fascination with Ancient Greek mythology combining music from an engraving with this title, containing music by Denis Gaultier. Many of the pieces have been given titles from mythology and short descriptions after each piece telling either the moment in the myth or something about the personality of the god/goddess/nymph. After a brief explanation of the connection between the lute and myth and how the title affects the performance, the program continues with music interspersed with readings from the engraving (read in English).

© 2023 Catherine Liddell