Accords nouveaux

François-Pierre Goy & Andreas Schlegel

In 1701, an extraordinary opus was published in Vienna by Wenzel Ludwig Edler von Radolt, in five partbooks. Each partbook focuses on a particular musical trick which is presented as a movement:

[Book 1, entitled at the end of the prologue in part 1: 1. The First Lute:]
The most faithful || discrete and capable companion || for both merry and sorry moods || as fit / || Joining other precise instruments ||to respond to the most delicate || emotions || first lutes.

[Book 2, entitled at the end of the prologue in part 1: 2. The Lutes for playing the middle voice:]
The most faithful || discrete and capable companion || for both merry and sorry moods || as fit/ || joining the most delicate || emotions. || Second and Third Lutes.

[Book 3, entitled at the end of the prologue in part 1: 3. The First Violins or Flutes]
[Text on the Book is unknown as a cover sheet is found yet; it is probably the same as the text on part 1.] 

[Book 4, entitled at the end of the prologue in part 1: 4. The middle voices of Violins or Viola Di Gamba]
The most faithful || discrete and capable companion || for both merry and sorry moods || as fit/ || Playfully assisting Their || Moods. || Second and Third Violins/ || or || Viola Di Gamba.

[Book 5, entitled at the end of the prologue in part 1: 5. The Bass]
The most Faithful || Discrete and capable Companion || for both merry and sorry moods || as fit/ || Real Basement and || Foundation. || The Bass. 

Current list of items

The places where the five known partbook are kept, in the order mentioned in partbook 1:
1. The First Lutes (A-Wgm,
SK-BRnm, D-Mbs*, GB-Lbl, B-LVu)
2. The Lutes, leading the middle voice (Lutes 2 & 3; in Concerto 1, showing Lute 2 on the verso and Lute 3 on the recto.) (A-Wn*, D-Ngm,
3. The First Violins or Flutes (
SK-BRnm and a not yet retrieved second item, a microfilm of which has been saved)
4. The Middle Voices in Violins or Viola Di Gamba (in Concerto 1, showing Violin 2 on the verso and Viola Di Gamba on the recto) (A-Wn*, CZ-Bm,
5. The Bass (A-Wn*,

The items marked with an asterisk * are available in digitised* form (see below). Items belonging to the collection in Raigern, where it is believed to have been complete before World War I, are marked in underline and bold. Adolf Koczirz borrowed three partbooks of Raigern (1, 3, and 5) for his edition in 1918 Österreichische Lautenmusik zwischen 1650 and 1720 (= Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, Bd. 50), Vienna : Artaria 1918, and states that partbook 4 is missing in Raigern. Neither said three partbooks nor further borrowed manuscripts from Raigern were returned after use: The documents were later transferred by Dobroslav Orel to Bratislava as a set. There, it was passed between various institutions. Legally, the documents still belong to the Benedictine monastery in Raigern.
We are currently following traces of other partbooks.

Book 1. Lute, located in Munich, is available for download:

Books located in the National Library of Austria (Book 2: Lute 2&3; Book 4: Vla & VdG; Book 5: Basso), available for download:

Book Violin 1 of Raigern was obviously photographed in the thirties, the takes of pages 18 and 19 are spoiled. The photos have been found in the library of Joseph Klima, including a manual reproduction of the damaged takes, and, additionally, a modern re-production of pages 18 and 19. The only sample of Book Violin 1 comes without a title sheet.

In 2010, Hubert Hoffmann published with Tree in Lübeck an Edition containing, besides Facsimile reproductions of the Concerts and the settings??? for violins, also an extremely useful collection of all hard to read texts in modern writing (in German). 


The collection includes 12 Concerti in highly varying settings. Only the first Concerto requires four stringed instruments (or three lutes in various dimensions, see below). The remaining Concerti are intended for trio disposition, although in various setting. The first violin or flute (the text also mentions an oboe) and the bass are constant. Concerto 3 features a ciphered bass. Book 4 requires either one of the following: 2nd violin, viola or viola da gamba. The first concerto shows on the verso the first violin, on the recto the viola.
The three lutes of the first concerto tune the Chanterelle in f', es' and c', respectively, thus indicating their being of different size.
Lute 1, having the Chanterelle in f', is the only instrument used througout all Concerti. Lute 2 has the Chanterelle at f' for the Concerti 6, 8, 9 and 11. Lute 3 is used in Concerto 1 only.

The compositions can also be played as solo Lute or as trio Sonatas without any lutes. When playing solo, important notes played otherwise by second or third instruments are added to the first voice in red ink. Curiously, judging by the shape of the characters, this helpful notation has been added by somebody else. The normal print is in black.

The link to a PDF containing an overview, the disposition and the contents of the partbooks in great detail.

The link to a PDF with the current understanding about the partbooks, for comparison.

The compositions show outstanding originality and deep reasoning. Remarks on how to play, and the intention of the songs, are to be found at varioius places:
- the last page of the prologue in the book of the first Lute,
- as a comment to the pieces in the corresponding book,
- in the index on the last page of the book of the first Lute .

Please consider three extraordinary compositions which we will discuss in what follows:

Concerto Nr. 1:
Three lutes, differing in their size, are required: Lute 1 tunes the Chanterelle nominally to f', lute 2 to es', lute 3 to c'. Referring to the Vienna tuning tone a' = appr. 470 Hz and a rupture limit around 250 Hz*m, upper limits for the mensures of these lutes are resulting in, respectively, about 63 / 71 / 84 cm (i.e. (24“ / 28“ / 33“) (or shorter). Radolt reads in the index, in his words, precisely: Imo: Concert a Quatro except D with 3a: minor, with three different lutes, a small, a larger and a large lute, each one having its own tuning, but a common bass line, and there are three violins and a bass, all tuned to match the small lute.

The last page of the prologue in the book to the 1. Lute: Whilst D la Sol re Primi Thoni, taken as a basis for this first lute concert, it is also the start for this complete work. This concert is played with three different lutes. The first one, leading with the soprano voice, must be a very small lute, and has to be tuned at least half a tone above Comet. The second lute must be somewhat larger, say medium size, and has to be tuned one full tone lower, such that its sixth choir equals the seventh choir of the small lute. V: G: The third shall be a rather large, ordinary lute, has to be tuned two tones and a half lower, such that its sixth choir equals the ninth choir of the small lute. V: G: This concert is made a Quatro, with a violin matching each lute, and due to the high tuning, it would be favourable to use half violins and a small bass, the violins and the bass are tuned after the small lute. This concert requires that the Soprano, this is, the small lutes, are preponderant, if there are two second and third lutes, there must be three first lutes, if there is one second and one third lute, there must be two first lutes, there is also a particularly good effect when playing, after each part went in Pleno, just the three high lutes in unison, the remaining instruments staying silent, or, to play just the first lute, or the two first lutes, or only violins or oboes without lutes, or with lutes but without violins. 

The setting is so variable. In order to play the Concerto with just one instrument, notes belonging to another instrument are printed in red at times when the lute has a pause. Notes printed in red colour mean the second voice and are not played in concert. (Remark on the Overture.)

Concerto Nr. 6:
This Concerto is described in the index as: 6to: Based on C with 3:a major, having an Aria and a Bass, this is all it takes for a complete concert, in two lines! One of the lutes and violins repeatedly plays the Aria, and the other instruments play seven pieces, one after the other.
This means: The Aria is played as high voice together with the matching bass. The second voice joins in, playing, in this order, an Allemande, Courente, Sarabande, Gavotte, Bourée, Menuette und Guigue. There appear daring rhythmical combinations, as the Aria is in 4/4, but the Courante, for instance, is in 3/4, of which 2 measures are made to fit in one 4/4-measure of the Aria.

After the Aria in Book 1 of the lute: The present Aria is the basis for the complete composition and is played over and over again, but good measure whilst playing is required, especially for the triplets. The bass line fits equally well with all pieces, everything is regular with the contrapunct, such that, if some part is off tact, the Aria shall pause until the next measure. It would be to good effect to play the concert with two kinds of instruments, such as V:G two or three flutes or an oboe, to play the Aria, and the violins or lutes to play the pieces.
Should it be played with equal instruments, just imagine how pleasant it would sound when the piece, after the first part has been played as usual, to have the repetition played without the other instuments, but just one lute for the aria and another lute for the piece.

The Aria is repeated depending of the piece.
Allemande no repetition
Courente first repetition only, omitting the other
Sarabande only the second repetition

all these have two repetitions

In Lute 1 Allemande: The Allemande needs to be played somewhat faster due to the Aria.

Concerto Nr. 9:
In a way, the voices are swapped:
The Violino 1mo plays an Allemande for piece 1, whilst the Violino 2do steps in with a Gigue, (thus producing rhythmical oppositions, as the Allemande partitions the measure in 4 quarters, but the Gigue in 12 eigths. The swap is in piece 5 (the title is rotated: Gigue è Allemande). Piece 2 (Courente è Menuette) corresponds to Piece 6 (Menuette è Courente) for the swap. Piece 3 (Sarabande è Aria) and piece 7 have the same relation, as do piece 4 (Gavotte è Bourée) and piece 8.

This Concerto is described in the index as: 9no: A Concert off G with 3:a major, where two pieces are played simultaneously at all times. G. Allemande and Guigue, Courent: Menuett etc: you may play each piece separately, as you wish.

In Lute 1 with Allemande and Gigue: For all pieces in this collection, if they start off-beat, the second voice will be silent until the beat.

Stand 31.7.2020