Born only two years after and dying in the same year as Johann Sebastian Bach, Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687 - 1750) was virtually Bach's exact contemporary. The two are reported to have met at least one time, when Weiss, the renowned lutenist, challenged Bach, the celebrated harpsichordist, to a duel of sorts - in improvisation. The account of the meeting suggests that Weiss held his own quite well. To have been the proverbial fly on the wall that evening!
Aside from being a renowned performer, Weiss was also one of the most gifted and prolific composers of lute music in history, having some 600 pieces for solo lute to his credit. He also wrote many chamber works that featured the lute, but with the exception of a brief Presto, none of Weiss' music was published in printed form. The reason for this is uncertain, except that it was supposedly Weiss' desire. Its existence only in manuscript form significantly restricted the music's circulation. The horrible consequence of this was that, for many of the chamber pieces, only one part has survived.
This is the case for the music on this Pan Classics CD named after the source of the singe lute part, The Dresden Manuscript. The reconstruction of the second part was completed by one of the performers here, Karl-Ernst Schröder, who writes, “Most pieces I was able to reconstruct using almost exclusively material found in the existing lute part.” The result is over an hour of the most pleasurable music that was seemingly doomed to never be heard again. Mr. Schröder performs with fellow lute player Robert Barto, and with cellist Gaetano Nasillo in one of the four sonatas. If you enjoy baroque lute music, this is for you.
Although today's lutenists are gradually bringing much of Silvius Leopold Weiss solo repertoire to the modern listener, his ensemble works have remained for the most part a mystery. The Dresden Manuscript consists of six volumes, the sixth of which contains Partitas by Weiss with 3 volumes of accompaniments. These "partien" are numbered 1 to 9, seven of them being lute parts to ensemble compositions of Weiss. Four of these Partien are labeled as lute duos, with three of them bearing a pencil remark stating that the missing lute part can also be found in an arrangement for harpsichord. These four Partien are the subject of this recording. Karl-Ernst Schroder reconstructed the lost part.
The most famous lutenist of the baroque era, Silvius Leopold Weiss was also highly regarded by his contemporaries as a composer. Around the beginning of the 20th century, after almost 200 years of neglect, the work of Weiss began to be rediscovered. Now, most of his solo sonatas — there are nearly a hundred of them — are available on CD; and even his ensemble works, which for the most part have survived only in the lute part , have … read more
Duo concert by Bob and Charlie (Karl-Ernst)
Robert Barto, lute
Lute: Robert Barto
Robert Barto graduated from the University of California, San Diego, having specialised in historical lute performance. A Fulbright scholarship brought him to Europe, where he continued his studies with Michael Schaeffer in Cologne and Eugen Dombois in Basle. In 1984, he was awarded first prize at the International Lute Competition in Toronto, as well as top prize in a competition of all the instrumental soloists at … read more
Karl-Ernst Schröder, lute
Lute: Karl-Ernst Schröder
Karl-Ernst Schröder was born in Eschweiler, Germany in 1958. He studied Renaissance guitar and lute with Professor Tadashi Sasaki at the Aachen Musikhochschule, attending masterclasses with Anthony Bailes and afterwards continuing his training in early music performance at … read more
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Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687 - 1750): Sonata in D major - IV. Allegro - music for two lutes