Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble – In A Medieval Garden (1967)

FrontCover1After more than a dozen years of success with folk-based indie label Elektra, which he started from his college dorm room, Jac Holzman established Nonesuch Records in 1964 with the goal of making classical recordings affordable and accessible. Nonesuch LP releases were priced at $2.50, half the cost of a typical classical release, comparable to that of a quality paperback book. The label’s first album was a French recording of Renaissance vocal music and it set the template for the first few dozen subsequent releases: quality European recordings licensed by Holzman at cut-rate prices, attractively packaged in the label’s house graphic style.

By the 1967 release of In a Medieval Garden by the Stanley Buetens Lute Ensemble, however,Splendor, In A Medieval Garden Nonesuch had begun picking up domestic talent and expanding their musical scope (including commissioning a groundbreaking electronic piece by composer Morton Subotnick, Silver Apples of the Moon, itself an excellent board game accompaniment). Buetens, a former New Yorker attending graduate school at Stanford University in Northern California, recorded just one LP for Nonesuch, but it’s an evocative delight. With the group’s focus on the lute, a stringed instrument descended from the Middle Eastern oud with some similarities to the later-to-come guitar, this gentle album effortlessly conjures up another era and milieu. Recorders and vocals offer up subtle melodies over instrumentally sparse but often rhythmically complex backings.

With its transporting qualities, this collection of early music makes an excellent complement to many tabletop games set in the Middle Ages or Renaissance. (by

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Back in the day when we listened to our favorite music on LP’s and reel-to-reel tapes, I had this tape. It was one of my favorites and I played it ’til most of the magnetic coating was gone. Well, at least some of it. Twenty some years ago, I lost my capability to play back the r-t-r tapes. That was generally upsetting, but I could replace many of my treasures on CD, and I was glad to do so, thus all was not lost, except for this gem. What really hit me hard was I could no longer listen to my Medieval Garden tape. A few weeks ago, I learned the music from the original tape had become available for download. Even though I’m not one to keep music on my phone or computer, I downloaded it immediately. I’m thrilled with being able to listen to this music again. The fidelity is superb and I understand a CD may be forthcoming. I certainly hope it is. As with this download, it will delight the ears.


If you know this tape (or maybe the LP) from years gone bye, this download will reach out and touch you just like it did back then. If you don’t know it, it will immediately transport you to a medieval garden in which troubadours, court musicians, courtly ladies and gentlemen while away sunny, autumn afternoon hours in playing and singing favorite poetry for their own enjoyment. Close your eyes and immediately, you’ll be there.

This album features American pioneer lutenist Stanley Buetens, with several other individuals singing and playing recorders, possibly krummhorns, viols, and perhaps other medieval/renaissance instruments. The quality of the recording is absolutely superb, with each individual instrument or voice clearly discernible and in exquisite balance with the rest of the group. (by Blacksheep)


A wonderful collection! Though it is clear these recordings were made over decades, they feel extremely authentic. You definitely get your money’s worth. Highly recommended for lute and renaissance music fans. (by Sam Lowry)

Stan Buetens co-founded the Lute Society of America with Ken LaBarre, his student and collaborator on several lute works offered here. Stan was invited to teach the lute at Stanford University in 1966 and became president of the LSA in 1967. (by

Born and raised in New York City, he attended Queen’s College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in voice.

He served in the Army during the Korean War. In New York he worked as a musician, playing the lute, and as a music editor for films.

Mr. Buetens came West in 1966 to attend graduate school in music at Stanford University, and never left the area.

He continued his career performing and teaching lute, guitar and voice. He even wrote a method for the lute that was widely used throughout the world, family members say.

Stanley Buetens02.jpgMr. Buetens worked at various jobs, including as a music professor, music publisher, printer and paralegal. He thought of himself as a tinkerer and Renaissance man, the family says. He was always busy creating, in one way or the other, says his oldest child, Sophi Buetens of Oakland.

He had a love of classical music and opera, languages, gardening and science. He followed the news, loved to read and cook, and enjoyed watching football and tennis. He was always exceedingly proud of his children and never ceased encouraging them in their own pursuits, says Ms. Buetens.

His wife, Blair Scott Buetens, died in March.

Survivors include his four children, Sophi Buetens and Sara Buetens, both of Oakland; Raymond Buetens of Aptos; and Julian Buetens of New Mexico. Other survivors are his sister, Miriam Simpson of New York; brothers Bernard Buetens of New Jersey and Melvin Buetens of Florida; and five grandchildren. (by

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Martha Blackman (violin)
Roland Blow (recorder, crumhorn)
Stanley Buetens (lute, vocals)
Catherine Liddell (lute, percussion)
Linda Nied (recorder)
Lawrence Selman (violin, percussion)
Diane Tramontini (vocals)


01. Ic Draghe De Mutse Clutse (Obrecht) 1.30
02. In Seculum Artifex (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.11
03. Auf fief ein Hubsches Freuelein (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.39
04. La Spagna (Anon. (15th Cent.) 2.05
05. Trotto (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.07
06. Ave Verum Corpus (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.38
07. La Spagna (II) (Capirola) 1.22
08. En Albion (Anon. (14th Cent.) 2.34
09. Ma Tredol Rosignol (Borlet) 1.42
10. In Seculum Viellatoris (Anon. (13th Cent.) 1.00
11. Die Katzenpfote (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.42
12. Pour L’amour De Ma Doulce Amye (Dufay) 2.21
13. Basse Dance “Tous Mes Amys” (Traditional/Attaingnant) 1.05
14. Dale Si Le Das (Anon. (15th Cent.) 1.00
15. Adieu M’amour, Adieu Ma Joie (Dufay) 3.28



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1931 – 2009