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Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Partitas Pour Luth

Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Partitas Pour Luth

Recorded in Mandelsloh, Germany, between 24 and 27/09/1997

About these works:
Sylvius Leopold Weiss probably did not worry much about posterity; few 18th-century musicians did. And posterity duly ignored Weiss, partly because there was nothing suitable on which to play his music. It was tailored for the Baroque lute, a sonorous but difficult instrument that largely disappeared within a generation of his death. Weiss was a star performer in his day, but even then his music was hard to find, by his own choice. He published only one movement in his lifetime. ”When you keep a piece only for yourself,” he explained, ”it always stays nice and new.” But that attitude, a common one among itinerant Baroque virtuosos, did not stop Weiss and his students from writing down hundreds of his pieces. Most of them are still unpublished, although a complete edition is in process.
That edition is timely. Today we have something suitable on which to play Weiss, thanks to the modern revival of the Baroque lute. And the Weiss record catalog continues to grow. This release comes from a notable figure in the Baroque lute revival, Hopkinson Smith. Mr. Smith’s mastery is reason enough to listen; he extracts a beautiful sound from his lute and plays it with an improvisatory flair and a wealth of nuance. Just as important, the music is rich and wide-ranging. It is hard to imagine a more attractive introduction to Weiss’s music. A high point is the G major Partita, whose eight movements include an impressive Toccata and Fugue. Such music should keep posterity from forgetting Weiss any time soon.

Track List:
1. Partita in Ré Mineur – Fantasia (1:37)
2. Partita in Ré Mineur – Allemande (4:26)
3. Partita in Ré Mineur – Courante (3:31)
4. Partita in Ré Mineur – Gavotte (1:50)
5. Partita in Ré Mineur – Sarabande (3:19)
6. Partita in Ré Mineur – Menuett (2:51)
7. Partita in Ré Mineur – Giga (3:49)
8. Partita in Sol Majeur – Prélude (1:03)
9. Partita in Sol Majeur – Toccata (1:53)
10. Partita in Sol Majeur – Fuga (2:53)
11. Partita in Sol Majeur – Courante (4:18)
12. Partita in Sol Majeur – Bourrée (3:20)
13. Partita in Sol Majeur – Sarabande, un poco andante (6:19)
14. Partita in Sol Majeur – Menuet (3:31)
15. Partita in Sol Majeur – Allegro (5:22)
16. Piéces in Ré Majeur – Prélude (3:10)
17. Piéces in Ré Majeur – Passacaille (3:26)
18. Piéces in Ré Majeur – Giga (3:11)

Hopkinson Smith: baroque lute (13 string Joel Van Lennep, Boston)

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 162.22 Mb, 59:49 minutes. Full info & covers included.

Part1 —  Part2

Para el flequillo más precioso y rebelde de todo el Sur.

Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Ars Melancholiae

Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Ars Melancholiae

Recorded in Villa Consuelo, El Escorial, Madrid in June 1993

About the author:
The master lutenist of the eighteenth century, Weiss was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland) into a lute-playing family, and first learned the instrument from his father, Johann Jacob Weiss. In 1706, Weiss made his professional debut in the Breslau court, in which his family served. Weiss’ extraordinary talent gained the attention of Elector Johann Wilhelm, dedicatee of Corelli’s Op. 6 and an intelligent patron of music. Weiss served in Wilhelm’s court in Dusseldorf for the next two years, and his earliest known compositions date from this time.

In 1708, Weiss left Dusseldorf for Rome in the retinue of Prince Alexander Sobieski, heir to the exiled Queen of Poland. Weiss resided in the Zuccari palazzo until 1714, absorbing new Italian styles firsthand and touring with the Prince to various courts. By the time of the Prince’s death, Weiss’ reputation was already well established, and he spent the next several years touring the continent and taking fixed employment only briefly. In Prague he met the prominent Bohemian lutenist Count Johann Anton Losy, whose work had a considerable impact. After Losy’s death, Weiss would write a memorial Tombeau that remains one of most eloquent works.

In 1718, Weiss grew weary of wandering and decided to settle into a lucrative post offered him at the court of Dresden. Though this did not prevent him from traveling on occasion, Dresden would serve him as home base for the rest of his life. Attempts to dislodge Weiss from Dresden made by representatives of the Vienna Court, including princely sums of money offered, went ignored. Weiss is known to have met with the violinist Franz Benda in 1738. His only documented meeting with Johann Sebastian Bach took place the following year in Leipzig, although the composers were in all probability well known to one another by this time. Bach’s personal secretary, Johann Elias Bach, wrote that “we heard some very fine music when my cousin from Dresden [Wilhelm Freidemann Bach] came to stay for four weeks, together with the famous lute-player Mr. Weiss.” Bach, no slouch at the lute himself and an enthusiast of the hybrid lute-harpsichord, may have written his lute suites with Weiss in mind.

At his death in 1750, Weiss was 66 years of age. He was, and still is, regarded as the greatest of all lutenists, and the instrument fell into decline within two decades of his death. An evaluation by the Markgrafin Wilhelmine de Bayreuth, sister of Frederick II of Prussia and herself a composer, would serve well as epitaph; “(Weiss) excels so much in playing the Lute that no one has ever matched him, and those who will come after him will only be left with the glory of imitating him.” Some of his “Suonate” are missing their preludes, which were usually improvised. Seventy suites, however, are known in their entirety; most last about 20 to 25 minutes in performance. As a composer, Weiss shows extraordinary originality; his suites stand comparison with those of J.S. Bach. Only one of the suites, No. 49 in B flat minor, appeared in print during Weiss’ own lifetime; his work was not intended for amateur players but for virtuosi whose skills approached his own. A modern printed edition of Weiss’ complete works has been underway since 1980.

About this work:
The music comprised in this album is well described in the appropriate title “The Art Of Melancholy”. The two Sonatas are fantastically played by José Miguel Moreno (one of the best classical lute players). The result is one of the most beautiful records one can have; you won’t be disapointed.

Track List:
01. Ciaconne (5:36)
02. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – I. Prelude (2:19)
03. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – II. Allemande (4:49)
04. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – III. Courante (3:59)
05. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – IV.Bouree (1:40)
06. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – V. Sarabande (4:55)
07. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – VI. Menuet (1:31)
08. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – VII. Passagaille (7:32)
09. Sonata in D major (K. 5) – VIII. Giga (3:08)
10. Prelude (2:04)
11. Menuet (2:16)
12. Fantasie (2:31)
13. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – I. Prelude (2:02)
14. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – II. Allemande (3:33)
15. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – III. Courente (1:58)
16. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – IV. Bouree (2:13)
17. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – V. Menuet (1:21)
18. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – VI. Sarabande (2:34)
19. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – VII. Menuet (1:06)
20. Sonata in D minor (K. 9) – VIII. Gigue (1:59)
21. Ciacona (4:52)

The Player:
José Miguel Moreno:  Baroque Lute

Stereo, DDD, mp3, 320 kbps, 63:50 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2