One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

/


Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 


alternatively Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750)
Sonata No.20 in D minor [18:17] ¹
Sonata No.14 [16:45] ¹
Johann HOFFMANN (1770-c.1814)

Sonata in G major [17:24] ²
Sonata in D minor [13:39] ²
Birgit Schwab (baroque lute ¹. Archlute²)
Daniel Ahlert (mandolin)
Rec. Museum Huelsmann, Bielefeld, September 2005
NAXOS 8.557716 [65:55]


Somewhat patchy all round.



One of the most impressive series of discs devoted to the lute sonatas of Weiss comes from Robert Barto whose Naxos recordings have been consistently impressive and a source of much admiration; I’ve reviewed him on this site and he seems to me to be one of the most fully equipped lute players currently before the public. Whilst hoping that they will continue to tape Barto until there’s nothing left for him to record, we need to take a detour with this latest Weiss entrant, one that springs a surprise.

Firstly it conjoins Weiss with the much later Viennese composer Johann Hoffmann. And secondly it takes incomplete works by Weiss. The scorings may be complete but only the lute part has survived. The British Library copies of the two sonatas have no scoring indications and the performers here have decided to rewrite the sonatas for lute and mandolin. This contentious decision gives life to the works but what sort of life is it?

It’s true that Weiss composed for the combination of two lutes and for lute and flute but nowhere so far as is known for lute and mandolin. The notes, which are very sketchy and have an acreage of white paper, rather half heartedly suggest that it’s "very probable that Weiss would have encountered mandolin players" amongst the Italian players in Dresden. And possibly not.

The more acidic mandolin contrasts strongly with the lute. This arrangements work best in those passages where echo effects bring a certain vivacity and drama to the writing, such as La Badinage from the D minor sonata. These dialogue pages work well but sometimes the phrasing sounds too heavy. The same sonata’s Sicilien doesn’t come to life and the heavy accents rather hinder things. In the companion work the Menuett responds best and the Adagio least well. The former has the advantage of crisp articulation and speed, the latter falls prey to an unlikely sonority and sounds correspondingly stodgy and imperfectly sustained.

Hoffmann’s sonatas were composed for mandolin and bass – probably cello though Hoffmann’s contemporary Giuliani specified that a lute and archlute could be substituted. In the two Naxos performances we duly have the duo of archlute and mandolin. The three-movement sonatas are variously virtuosic and melodic and the combination sounds more natural and convincing than the Weiss sonatas. The Rondeau of the G minor has some witty ritardandi, good dynamics and some engaging Turkish themes. And the Andante con variazione of the D minor is felicitously shaped and well played. Throughout I felt that Birgit Schwab and Daniel Ahlert were more comfortable in the later idiom than in Weiss’.

Somewhat patchy all round.

Jonathan Woolf



 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical

alpha_classics.com
Alpha Classics
a new advertiser

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger
 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.