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
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
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
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
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.