Theresia Bothe
 &
Peter Croton


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CV et revue de presse

Theresia Bothe, née au Canada de parents irlandais et allemands, a vécu dès l’âge de 4 ans au Mexique. Très vite, elle s’est sentie attirée par les chansons populaires et traditionnelles. Elle commença des études de chant à l’Escuela Nacional de Musica de Mexico. En même temps, elle se passionna pour la musique baroque et classique. Elle poursuivit ses études à Londres, à la Guildhall School of Music and Drama, puis à la Hochschule für Musik de Trossingen (Allemagne) et à la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis de Bâle (Suisse). Elle se produit en Amérique latine et dans différents pays européens, comme soliste ou dans des ensembles. C’est une des rares musiciennes classiques à s’accompagner elle-même au luth ou à la guitare. En mars 2007, elle tient un des rôles principaux dans l’opéra de Vivaldi Montezuma à Mexico. Actuellement, Theresia Bothe vit en Suisse. A côté de son activité pédagogique et artistique, elle est l’initiatrice et la présidente de M-CC (Music - a Chance for Change), association musicale à but humanitaire.  www.m-cc.org

Le Suisse d’Amérique Peter Croton enseigne le luth, la pratique instrumentale historique et la basse continue à la guitare à la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, à la Hochschule für Musik de Bâle et à la Haute école des arts de Berne. Enraciné dans le folk et le jazz, Peter Croton a suivi une formation approfondie en musique ancienne à l’Oberlin Conservatory of Music (Etats-Unis) et à la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Suisse) auprès d’Eugen Dombois et de Hopkinson Smith. Parmi de nombreuses distinctions, citons le Premier prix au concours international de musique ancienne Erwin Bodky 1984 à Boston (Etats-Unis), des prix en 1983 au concours international «Concert Artists' Guild» à New York et au concours international de luth «Guitar 84» à Toronto (Canada). Depuis 1984, il a enregistré plusieurs émissions de radio et CD en tant que soliste ou chambriste (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Virgin, Channel Classics, Guild, etc.). Son plus récent CD, "Bach on the Italian Lute", est disponible chez Guild. Peter Croton se produit en Europe et aux Etats-Unis comme soliste ou dans des ensembles. Peter Croton est aussi un compositeur: en 2001, la Société allemande de luth a publié six de ses œuvres. Il est l’auteur d’un manuel de basse continue classique à la guitare (Figured Bass on the Classical Guitar - a Practical Approach based on Historical Principles), paru récemment aux éditions Amadeus.  www.peter-croton.com

                                                        Revue de presse – Duo 

« Theresia Bothe et Peter Croton ont donné une après-midi musicale de toute beauté… le public fut en présence d'atemporels chefs-d’œuvre, portés par la voie enjouée et lumineuse de Theresia Bothe…L'interprétation de la Sonatine de Mauro Giuliani permit à Peter Croton de montrer toute sa virtuosité, mais aussi toutes les possibilités de la guitare romantique qui bien que fort petite, parvenait à remplir la salle de ses sonorités denses et harmonieuses…Le musicien, qui par ailleurs est professeur à la fameuse Schola Cantorum Basiliensis de Bâle, montra dans l'interprétation de ses propres oeuvres la richesse de son inspiration… Par cette journée pluvieuse de dimanche, ce récital fut un agréable moment de détente, de plaisir et d'étonnement. »

   Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace

« La verve communicative de Theresia Bothe dépoussière cette musique, la rend vivante, accessible. L’exécution revêt un naturel et une délicatesse rehaussée par les coloris du luth… » 
  
L'Impartial, La Chaux-de-Fonds

   „Gute Musik kennt keine Grenzen, dies haben die beiden Künstler während des ganzen Abends eindrücklich bewiesen...Bereits die ersten Noten liessen erahnen, wie gewaltig dieser Abend werden würde...Die glasklare, volle Stimme der Sängerin stach besonders hervor...Dem Duo gelang es, die Emotionen durch die Musik zu beschreiben...die Toccata von Kapsberger, bei deren Interpretation der Lautenspieler mit einem beeindruckenden Solo sein können bewies...Von Wehklagen bis Frohlocken, von verträumten Liebesgedichten bis zu verzweifelten Klageliedern bot das Programm alles. Von den beiden Musikern ging eine unglaubliche Ausstrahlung aus, die sich auf das Publikum zu übertragen schien. Der tosende Applaus galt am Ende nicht nur ihrer musikalischen Genialität, sondern auch der sympathischen Ausstrahlung und der charmanten Art ihres Auftretens."
  
Zürichsee Zeitung

"The public was completely ecstatic with the evening concert under the name 'Remembrance of Things Past', which included works by John Dowland, William Shakespeare and Croton himself. The manner with which the duo, with intelligent emotionality and natural passion, was able to uncover new aspects of the well-known lute songs by John Dowland completely enchanted the audience, which exploded in thunderous applause."  

  Concerto - The Magazine for Early Music, June/July 2009

                                                                                                                                       

"Theresia Bothe and Peter Croton began their program with three sensational Spanish songs. Bothe and Croton had already impressed me greatly the first time I heard them in concert at the Festival in Kassel. This time they explored European songs and Spanish and Italian instrumental music from ca. 1600, the Baroque and the 19th century, with Croton switching from a ten-course lute to a Roudhloff-guitar (ca. 1820) distinguished by its well-projecting and flexible sound. Their concert inspired the first encore at this festival – rightly so!... high-spirited, exalted performance..."

   German Lute Society, Lute Info 2 (2010)

   

The Basel Duo Theresia Bothe (voice) and Peter Croton (lute and romantic guitar) presented a new program of Spanish, Italian and Peruvian songs and instrumental pieces from the Renaissance to the early Romantic period. The Canadian-born singer who grew up in Mexico has mastered the art of passionately presenting the meaning of songs whose language the listeners might not understand. Her duo partner Peter Croton also put on a dazzling performance as a soloist, playing with breathtaking virtuosity works by Alessandro Piccinini and Giovanni Zamboni, as well as a romantic piece by Mauro Giuliani…. rousing as well as unconventional performance...”

   Concerto - The Magazine for Early Music, August/September 2010


 "Theresia Bothe und Peter Croton gave a superb concert. The first half was dominated by Early Music, in the second half the duo gave a convincing jazzy performance."

   Märkische Allgemeine, Brandenburg


 CD - Remembrance of Things Past (Guild)

“…Croton is a creative musician who wishes to recapture the improvisational and inventive nature of the early lutenists. The result, quite different from many of Croton's contemporaries, is that Dowland's music is presented as living and malleable, inspiring transformation as well as new compositions…

   The CD opens with the Preludium by John Dowland followed by two settings of Shakespeare by Croton. The lute writing is sparse but idiomatic, with very strong melodic lines which linger in the head; they are often reminiscent of Stephen Sondheim. My favourite is the setting of ‘While you hear do snoring lie”, which has a memorable lute part.

   Theresia Bothe’s voice is very individual. Her expressiveness comes from the emphasis and colouring of certain words and the breaking of phrases, rather than ornamenting or varying the music according to historical practise. This approach probably reflects her interest and experiences with the more popular forms of music. She sings in tune and her diction is generally good.

   Croton approaches Dowland’s songs in different ways. First, he offers them in the usual manner, i.e. as a song with the lute part as written, but often he presents settings of the songs in versions for solo lute before the song begins (‘Say Love if ever thou did’st find’). Also, in the middle of a song he will often give the repeat sections to the lute (‘Sleep wayward thoughts’). Listen also for the nice variations that he makes in some songs when accompanying the voice (‘Now, O now’). Hearing all this new material created by Croton is like discovering new works by Dowland, such is his sense of style and his ability to emulate Dowland’s melodic gift. Croton’s tone on the lute is good, his phrasing elegant and there is much variety of articulation.

   The last section of the CD contains three more songs composed by Croton; the songs this time are for two voices. Bothe is joined by Derek Lee Ragin. These songs are more adventurous, but still very idiomatic for both voice and lute. I particularly like the setting of the poet Rumi, where the lute has very oud-like flavour. The CD ends with a new duo setting of ‘Now, O now’. You might consider Croton to be a brave man in attempting to set such well-known words, but for me, within a few moments of listening I had forgotten the original and was captivated by this version.

   If you are looking for a fresh approach to traditional material, for new ways in programming, then try this CD, it is full of surprises!”

    THE LUTE SOCIETY (ENGLAND) – Lute News, April 2010
 

    "This is a disc of many colors. Croton is firmly versed in the lute's culture and history but has happily succumbed to the modern pull of his love of song, so the CD flits between our age and Dowland's. Where Croton takes printed texts for his own compositions he is the renaissance composer, albeit with modern notes and rhythms. Where he sets Dowland's songs to the lute where no lute solo existed before, he sets them with the uncanny wit and style of an anonymous scribe in a renaissance manuscript. "Sorrow stay," for example, would be a delight for any lute soloist if conveniently found in some ancient book. Derek Lee Ragin's tenor is another exciting contrast of modern song - especially in Dowland's "Now, oh now" - with a perfectly subtle renaissance sensibility, in contrast to soprano Theresia Bothe's modern shaping of voice. Croton offers two visions of this song: once with Dowland's melody with Bothe's forthright soprano and the other in Croton's setting, replete with bold strokes of calms and clashes, familiar rhythms against dissonance and resolution.

    Thus the music dances on both shores of the 400-year ocean that divides these ages. Croton builds his sound on a light Gottlieb lute with modern wound strings, with a sustain that echoes Bothe's long soprano lines. Croton intrepidly reaches for every bit of nuance in the poems of Roethke and Shakespeare, much as Dowland approached the poets of his day. This is an exciting record, though perhaps not for those of our current HIP persuasion."

   LUTE SOCIETY OF AMERICA QUARTERLY – Volume XLV, No. 2, Summer 2010


"…Theresia Bothe’s clear voice hovers between the two loudspeakers with an almost physical presence. Visitors to this year’s Lute Festival in Füssen were able to experience the clarity and intensity of vocal and instrumental articulation which is a hallmark of this splendidly unified duo in a captivating recital of Spanish and Italian music... The entire CD is a superb example of perfect ensemble between singer(s) and accompanist, of the timeless beauty of John Dowland’s songs, and last but not least of Peter Croton’s skill as composer, to which his experience in jazz and folk contribute noticeably."

    GERMAN LUTE SOCIETY,  Lute Info 2 (2010)

   (original in German)


"Un disque chant et luth qui commence par un prélude de luth, comme pour ouvrir une soirée entre

mélomanes ou un concert … Quelle bonne idée ! Dans ce Praeludium de Dowland, le son de Peter est

agréable, le phrasé libre et varié, on profite bien du luth, comme dans tout le disque, d’ailleurs, où

introductions, arrangements et intermèdes instrumentaux ne manquent pas. La pièce suivante

(Remembrance) reste dans le ton avec un motif de fantaisie assez classique, mais bientôt, quelques

dissonances apparaissent … Nous sommes au XXIe siècle ! Puis la voix surgit, pour une mélodie

assez disjointe mais chantée bien legato, accompagnée par quelques notes légères du luth (peu

d’accords, mais d’habiles imitations) ; le tout est bien construit et agréablement contrasté. Dans une

autre oeuvre de Peter Croton, également sur un texte de Shakespeare, le luth introduit un thème

tonique, tout en liaisons descendantes, tandis que la voix, qui explore toutes les tessitures, frôle le

Sprechgesang (parlé-chanté) pour finir sur un cri « awake ! ». Viennent ensuite une douzaine de

chansons de Dowland, quelques « tubes » (Flow my tears, Now, O now I need must part, Come heavy

sleep, Come again - mais avec les paroles All the day …), mais aussi plusieurs ayres sublimes comme

Go crystal tears ou Sorrow stay. L’originalité de ce disque réside dans les nombreux et convaincants

arrangements que Peter a réalisés pour le luth seul à partir de ces chansons, qu’il utilise comme

préludes, ritournelles entre les couplets ou postludes. Son accompagnement est efficace, les basses

présentes et très articulées, tandis que la voix, peut-être insuffisamment sombre dans les pièces

tragiques, se révèle au contraire légère, claire et naturelle dans les plus allègres. Les trois dernières

oeuvres, de Peter Croton, sont des dialogues à deux voix et luth. La première est particulièrement

intéressante car bien concertante entre les trois musiciens (harmonieux arpèges de luth, voix en

imitation puis parallèles), la seconde, sur un texte de Rumi (poète mystique soufi du XIIIe siècle),

sonne bien orientale, pleine d’ornements, avec une musique très au service du texte ; quant à la

troisième : surprise ! Croton conserve les paroles et le rythme de O now I need must part, mais à deux

voix, avec une mélodie à lui, et un accompagnement en arpèges … Un malicieux clin d’oeil pour finir

ce disque original, qui initie - en douceur - les luthistes à la musique d’aujourd’hui …"

   LE JOUEUR DE LUTH, MARS 2010, bulletin de la Société Française de Luth

  
"Blinders seem to be unfamiliar to Peter Croton and Theresia Bothe with regards to making music. They are as comfortable performing early music as they are folk and jazz. One inevitably thinks of Sting, who also tried his hand at Dowland. Unlike him however, Theresia Bothe avoids the artificiality which so quickly becomes mannered. With her beguiling naturalness and crystal-clear voice she does much more justice to the text and music, and succeeds in moving the emotions more strongly. Peter Croton, who contributes a few of his own compositions, impresses with his subtle virtuosity."

   FONO FORUM 10/06

 
"'This is an unusual offering, and it’s very far from a conventional single disc survey of Dowland’s music, either for lute or voice. Instead it offers re-creationist possibilities and a more curious interplay between his music and that of the performer-composer Peter Croton who has been inspired by it. He has arranged a number of Dowland’s songs for lute, Croton’s own instrument, and there are several of his own compositions as well. Croton is a fine lutenist, with an acute ear for colour, and he possesses a strong technique… What gives this project even greater resonance is the chosen singer, Theresia Bothe. Her voice continues the theme of cross-current enshrined in the disc; it embodies elements of classical purity in places but also has a decided folk influence more commonly to be found among the Waterson and Wainwright clans. This is deliberate of course, the better to inflect these arrangements with a sense of intimacy, though whether it actually succeeds in transmuting – or limiting – the original source material from the Books of Songs is very much a matter of taste… Croton’s own compositions occupy an equally modern ground, one akin to music theatre, which is how Bothe delivers Remembrance of things past. For the three remaining songs Derek Lee Ragin joins Croton… Do I detect however, in Croton’s writing and playing, hints of the oud in the exotic Rumi setting, giving it an even greater sense of place? So this is a somewhat out of the way disc, pursuing a very individual slant on Dowland, and succeeding more often than not."

   MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL


"This is a very unorthodox recording of John Dowland's lute songs… experimental in several ways… there are absolutely compelling moments here, and this disc belongs in any serious Dowland collection or in that of anyone who simply enjoys speculative modes of performance. The designer of the performance seems to be lutenist Peter Croton, who treats the Dowland songs in various ways: playing them straight, ornamenting them, and adding preludes and central sections. The most immediately unusual thing general listeners may notice is the voice of soprano Theresia Bothe… Her singing is almost vibrato-free (vibrato creeps in as a feathery ornament at phrase ends or as a point of emphasis elsewhere), spot-on accurate when it comes to pitch, and yet well supported from below with just a hint of roughness. It is not a "pure" voice, but it is nevertheless suited to the pitch demands of Dowland's music. Bothe may be a matter of taste, but for some listeners she'll be a matter of serious addiction. If all this is not enough, Croton composes new lute songs loosely based on Renaissance models where the tonality and phrasing are pushed, but the idiom is recognizable… and a set of three at the end, (with) Derek Lee Ragin, also a compelling and distinctive vocalist… there are plenty of really gorgeous moments along the way, and the entire disc benefits from an X-factor related to genuine risk-taking. Sample Bothe's absolutely limpid take on Go crystal tears (track 8), or Croton's orginal setting of Theodore Roethke's poem "The Waking" (track 17), which, like the other Croton pieces, is a world premiere. Add in unusually good lute-song sound that is absolutely clear with a minimum of fuss from Switzerland's Guild label, and you have a really noteworthy offbeat release."

    ALLMUSIC.COM


"Lutenist Peter Croton presents an extraordinary view of John Dowland and his world."

   TOCCATA, July-August 2010


CD - Love Song From Five Centuries (Centaur)

"Ms. Bothe's light, flexible soprano and her interpretative insight into the texts are well-suited to these songs of exquisite longing for love and the exquisite pain that it brings. She and her partner are attuned to the tender "complaints" (as the word was then understood) in the songs "Can she excuse my wrongs?" and "Come away" by John Dowland. In Spain, by contrast, the major composers did not write love songs; that was left to our old friend, Anonymous. Consequently, songs such as "Vestros ojos" (Your eyes) and "Quien quiere entrar" (Who wants to go with me) have an earthier, more popular flavor, which Ms. Bothe captures very successfully."

 

"There follow a charming 19th century Night of carousing song, "Meet me by moonlight" by J. Augustine Wade, three spirited Italian songs and two guitar pieces by Mauro Giuliani, and four original songs by Peter Croton, the artist heard on this CD. Three of the titles "Come away, Death," "Sing no more, ladies," and "In darkness let me dwell" are the composer's homage to the age of Dowland and Shakespeare in a modern sensibility. Three handsome folk traditionals, "The garden where the praties grow," "The water is wide," and "Black is the color of my true love's hair" afford Theresia Bothe the opportunity to show her considerable talent as a folk singer."

   ATLANTA AUDIO SOCIETY

 

 

"Here is a delightful exploration of nearly 500 years' worth of love songs…Bothe and Croton are a dynamic duo. Ms. Bothe brings much energy and expression to the songs: I especially liked the non-sentimental rendition of Dowland's "Can she excuse my wrongs?"…I enjoy folk music from nearly all traditions, so I think this is a lovely addition to the many recordings of love songs…Nor does the recording disappoint at the end as it becomes increasingly modern. Croton's compositions are tonal and fit well, though they are somewhat darker than the rest, showing great sensitivity for the lyrics"

   AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE


   “Ms. Bothe’s light, flexible soprano and her interpretative insight into the texts are well-suited to these songs of exquisite longing for love and the exquisite pain that it brings. Three handsome folk traditionals afford Theresia Bothe the opportunity to show her considerable talent as a folk singer.”
  
Atlanta Audio Society 

“Here is a delightful exploration of nearly 500 years’ worth of love songs…Bothe and Croton are a dynamic duo. Ms. Bothe brings much energy and expression to the songs”    
  
   American Record Guide

"Irish-Canadian vocalist Theresia Bothe grew up in Mexico. Guitarist/vocalist Peter Croton is a U.S. native who was trained at the Oberlin Conservatory, and has won awards all over North America during his travels. Both live in Switzerland, and while all of these facts may account for the folk/pop/jazz mix you hear on this recording, it does not tell the complete story. While heavier on the folk/pop component, there's a sweetness and light to the original material heard throughout. Bothe is distinctively Irish in her vocal style, rolling r's and brandishing the clipped, bold and bright bonnie tones associated with Celtic singing. Croton is similar to Gordon Lightfoot vocally, while on the guitar his approach is fairly basic within the folk tradition, though at times it's clear he's heard his share of the mellower side of Kenny Burrell. The most surprising ideas, though much less traditionally mainstream jazz than one might think, are the tributes to Langston Hughes and Billie Holiday. The duo play an homage to the legendary poet "On The Death Of Langston Hughes," while the sad "Song For Billie Holiday" is in 3/4 time. A New Orleans shuffle in a quartet setting shows the best improvisation and swing during "Life Is Fine" as sung by Croton, Bothe's feature on the lullaby "Song To A Sleeping Child" is the most tender tune of the date, and during the rock oriented song of departure "You're Running Away Again," both sing in harmony. The remainder of the program leans to folk, especially Croton's impressive acoustic guitar finger style triplet forms on "Land Of Dreams" with a more ethereal Bothe, while "Just Another Shoulder To Lean On" markedly molds the swing and pop shells into a unified whole. "
  All Music Guide, Michael G. Nastos

"Bothe sings from her heart with a strong rich voice that will excite folk music lovers as they expand their envelope. Our favorite was "Another day in life with you" with a cool guitar intro by Peter."
  O’s Place Jazz Newsletter, D. Oscar Groomes

"This band creates a unique blend of folk pop and jazz. Bothe and Croton's music is formed from the stylings of Billy Holiday and Kenny Burrell. The voice of Theresia Bothe is a bit like Judie Collins and Joan Baez, so that definitely fits with the theme of folk jazz.

There also seems to be a dose of poetry-laced lyrics infused in some of these songs. "On the death of Langston Hughes" has a slow melodic sound that is more folk than jazz, but incorporates both styles. "Song for Billie Holiday" has impressive guitar accompaniment with strong lyrics. The chordings chosen by Croton fit this song to a tee. A subtle echo effect lends merit to this track. The guitar tone is good and a slight tremolo sound is present. "I'll Sing a Song for You" has an intro with jazz chords. It moves into a faster ballad sung by Bothe and has cool jazz drumming and upright bass on the track.

The CD "I'll Sing a Song for You" has impressive vocals and jazz guitar playing, which will make it appeal to fans of folk-laden jazz."

  Metro Spirit, Rich McCracken II

"Two talented pros travel the singer/songwriter route, with a little genre splicing for flavor, and deliver a nice set of originals that goes down well and never comes across as over reaching.  Tackling life’s big questions in song, this is the kind of under the radar, neo-folk that gives you the easy kind of music you can kick back with but isn’t fluff."
 
MIDWEST RECORD, Chris Spector