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Weiss: Lute Sonatas, Vol. 6

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Customer Reviews

Top Baroque Lutenist plays Top Baroque Lute Composer

If you are familiar with the Baroque Lute, you already own all of Barto's recordings; no need to read further. If you are not, the Baroque lute has a unique brilliant sound. Bob Barto is the finest player and interpreter of the instrument who specializes in the music of SL Weiss. Weiss was a master lutenist and contemporary of Bach who wrote music of great beauty and complexity. Barto's 6 CD set of Weiss is without parallel. Buy any or all, you won't be disappointed. If you have only heard Weiss on guitar, you will be amazed to hear it on the lute.

Greatest composer you've never heard of

Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) is emerging as one of the Baroque era's most gifted composers. He created a good deal of chamber music for ensembles of varying sizes, all of it reportedly superb. I say "reportedly," because all of it has been lost, and what remains is a treasure trove of pieces for the Baroque lute (50 sonatas, some running 40 minutes or more, plus numerous suites, fantasies, and more). Melody, counterpoint, and harmony are exquisite; you will be reminded of Bach and Vivaldi's keyboard pieces (and the timbre of a Baroque lute is something like a cross between a guitar and a harpsichord). Barto's series of recordings on Naxos are a good place to start. He's got a delicate touch and doesn't rush the pieces, as some Baroque musicians feel they must. Consequently, the melodies stand out and the continuity between the Renaissance lute music of Dowland and the later Baroque music is preserved. The albums are inexpensive, so you can just pick one and try it out. I would, however, suggest that volume 6 might be slightly better than the others; Sonata 45, which opens the album, is so beautiful it will take your breath away. But you can't really go wrong with any of these 8 albums.

Biography

Genre: Classical

Robert Barto is an American lutenist best known for his performances of Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. With a major in historical lute performance, Barto graduated from the University of California, San Diego. On receiving a Fulbright scholarship, he pursued studies with Michael Schäffer in Cologne, Germany, and with Eugen Müller-Dombois in Basle, Switzerland. He won the International Lute Competition in Toronto in 1984, as well as taking top prize in the Musica Antiqua Bruges in Belgium. His...
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Weiss: Lute Sonatas, Vol. 6, Robert Barto
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