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Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750)
The Silesian Master of Lute

Sonata in F major [19:34]
Tombeau sur la mort de M. Cajetan Baron d’Hartig [7:18]
Sonata in D major [29:25]
Capriccio in D major [3:18]
Ciacona in G minor [4:38]
Jakob Lindberg (lute)
rec. 16-18 December 2006, S-1 Studio, Polish Radio, Warsaw
DUX 0581 [64:12]

Experience Classicsonline

In 1727 Ernst Gottlieb Baron published his
Historisch-Theoretisch und Practische Untersuchung des Instruments der Lauten (Historical, Theoretical, and Practical Inquiry into Lute Instruments). In it he observed that Silvius Leopold Weiss provided the ideal model for lute players, his style being “the most sound, galant, and perfect of all”; indeed, added Baron many players strive to imitate his “new method … [like] the Argonauts sought the Golden Fleece”.

Weiss was born in October 1686 in Breslau, Silesia - which is why this present CD appears in a series devoted to Silesian music. He was taught by his father, Johann Jakob (1662?–1754), himself an accomplished lutenist. The younger Weiss went on to become, as Baron implies, the most admired and imitated performer on his instrument, as well as the composer of a substantial body of work for the lute, much of it of very high quality. Recent years have seen the issue of a good number of CDs devoted to Weiss – not least the surveys, of varying stages of completeness, by fine players such as Robert Barto (on Naxos), Yasunori Imamura (on Claves) and Michael Cardin (on Amplitude and SNE). Amongst individual CDs devoted to Weiss, one of the highlights was Jakob Lindberg’s Sonatas Played on the Unique 1590 Sixtus Rauwolf Lute (BIS). Now – played on a modern lute – here is another excellent selection of Weiss played by Lindberg, one of our leading contemporary masters of the instrument.

He plays a thirteen course baroque lute made by Michael Lowe of Oxford in 1981. This is presumably the instrument featured on Jakob Lindberg’s webpage, where Lindberg explains that on this particular instrument “the first pegbox is extended to a second pegbox to allow for longer bass strings. This gives a stronger and richer sound to the bass, which is required by the German music of the mid 18th century. The back of my lute is made of rosewood.” Certainly what we hear has just the right weight of sound for the music, something which is particularly striking in Lindberg’s moving performance of the remarkable Tombeau sur la mort de M. Cajetan Baron d’Hartig. This fine piece survives, I believe, in only one copy, in the British Library (M.S. Add 30387). In its seven and a quarter minutes it runs through the whole gamut of emotions bound up with bereavement and grief – from public solemnity to private melancholy, from elegiac memory to defiant resolution, to final resignation and release. Lindberg plays the piece with a delightfully expressive softness of touch – one of the qualities for which contemporaries regularly praised Weiss.


But Lindberg is no slouch when it comes to some of the quicker dance-based pieces, notably certain movements in the two sonatas (that in F major is from Dresden Ms. Mus 2841-C-1, that in D major from the same British library manuscript as the Tombeau). He copes very handsomely with the technical demands of the Courante in the D major sonata, as well as with the shorter phrases which characterise the Angloise in the same sonata. The Bourré of the F major sonata is a delightful miniature and the gigue which closes that sonata is full of gorgeous runs.


The Capriccio in D major and the Ciacona in G minor, both from the British Library manuscript, close the programme delightfully. The Capriccio has a relaxed happiness, with a kind of open air freshness to it; the Ciacona has a complementary gravitas. Lindberg articulates both pieces very effectively. Throughout the recorded sound is excellent.


Glyn Pursglove






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