This is now the third disc I have heard by the master lutenist Jakob Lindberg of the eloquent music of Sylvius Weiss. Weiss sweetly combines elegance and sentiment in a manner that is both intellectually and sensually satisfying. To my ears, Lindberg portrays the music perfectly, the sensitive Sarabande in the Sonata in C as well as the ensuing minuet, the tension of the opening of the Tombeau sur la Mort de M. Comte de Logy as well as the devastatingly sober theme. The Tombeau is an almost 12-minute piece at a tempo that crawls rather than walks, and yet it holds the attention.
The considerable variety of Johann Sebastian Bach’s output for the lute stands witness to different periods of his life and career. This collection comprises Bach’s complete lute works, amply demonstrating his interest in its expressive qualities. These works include the technically demanding Partita BWV 1006a, Bach’s own transcription of his Cello Suite No. 5, three pieces from the St John Passion and the St Matthew Passion where the lute appears in an ensemble setting, and the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV 998, described by the renowned harpsichordist Wanda Landowska as ‘of incomparable beauty… unique amongst Bach’s works’.
Little is known of Francesco Spinacino and Joan Ambrosio Dalza, the authors of Ottaviano Petrucci’s tablatures which appeared in 1507 and 1508 in Venice. From an instrumental point of view, Petrucci’s collections demonstrate complete mastery of the technical resources of the lute, presenting many virtuoso pieces. They each contain musical material that is different in concept and compositional style. Spinacino favours the vocal production of the Franco-flemish School: Josquin, Brumel, Ockeghem, Ghiselin…transcribing for lute both chansons and sacred motets.
Sharon Isbin is a multiple Grammy Award winning American classical guitarist and the founding director of the guitar department at the Juilliard School. Described by the Boston Globe's Michael Manning as a musician who plays "beyond virtuosity," guitarist Sharon Isbin has been a consistent challenge for critics, who struggle to find the right superlative that would do justice to her exquisite playing. A Renaissance woman of the guitar, Isbin performs worldwide at famous venues, commissions new works from distinguished American composers (more than any other guitarist) for her instruments, collaborates with a wide variety of musicians, and indefatigably searches for new music to play.
Narciso Yepes was one of the finest virtuoso classical guitarists of the twentieth century, generally ranked second after Andrés Segovia.
Capirola was one of the finest composers and lutenists of his day and there have been few opportunities to hear a full disc of his music. The background to this collection is fascinating and worth mentioning before we continue. The back of the CD booklet has a beautiful reproduction of a manuscript not surprisingly called the ‘Capirola Notebook’. This is an example of lute tablature in the form of a transcription by Capirola of the mass fragment Qui tolis pechata mondi (sic) from an unnamed Josquin Mass.