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Weiss: Lute Concertos / Stone, Tempesta Di Mare


Release Date: 06/29/2004 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 707   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Richard StoneEmlyn NgaiCynthia RobertsVivian Barton,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempesta di Mare
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Like Sebastian Bach and François Couperin, Sylvius Leopold Weiss came from and continued a musical tradition. His father was Johann Jakob Weiss, his brother was Johann Sigismund Weiss, and his son was Johann Adolph Faustinius Weiss. Also, like Bach and Couperin, Sylvius Leopold was the most famous member of his musical clan, and during his long and distinguished career he taught a number of students who would become exceptional lutenists, Adam Falckenhagen and Johann Kropfgans among them. Following demands created by his exceptional reputation, Weiss traveled extensively before he settled at the court of Augustus the Strong in 1728; he remained there for the rest of his life. Weiss and Bach certainly met on more than one occasion as Read more the latter visited his son Wilhelm Friedemann and also had an interest in music-making at the Saxon court.

As a performer, Weiss was considered the finest of his time and many believed that his ability as a lutenist rivaled that of Bach as an organist and Scarlatti as a harpsichordist. His Berlin colleague, Ernst Gottlieb Baron, mentioned to a “Weissian Method,” probably a reference to his astounding and masterful technique, not to mention his style. Hundreds of Weiss’s works survive, chief among them six-movement sonatas or partitas that follow the accepted blueprint for the genre, i.e., Allemande, Courante, Bouree, Sarabande, Minuet, and Gigue. Some depart from this scheme and begin with unmeasured preludes not unlike those found in French harpsichord music of the era. As a composer, Weiss was attracted to a number of influences, particularly the German and Italian styles, the latter made manifest not only in the music, but also in the musical architecture where the tripartite format we know from Vivaldi’s concertos is encountered, as is a four-movement structure recalling the concerto da chiesa. Overall, the harmonic language of Weiss—like that of his Dresden colleague, Jan Dismas Zelenka—is sophisticated, and involves travels to remote tonalities by way of chord construction and the liberal use of unusual harmonic progressions (the ritornello of the opening movement to the Concerto in C Minor is an excellent example), but where Zelenka can occasionally become long-winded, Weiss is as succinct as one would want, with not so much as a single superfluous note. Weiss was also careful to never pursue virtuosity for its own sake; instead, he allowed virtuosity to become subservient to the cause of the music.

The reconstructed concertos recorded here represent years of work on the part of Richard Stone and Gwyn Roberts, co-directors of Tempesta di Mare, and do much to enhance the reputation of Weiss and the orchestra. Richard Stone is unquestionably an astute musicologist with the patience of Howard Carter and the intuition of Sherlock Holmes, as the meticulous reconstructions display. Stone is also clearly primus inter pares as a performer, gifted with the digital dexterity required to successfully negotiate the music and the insight to seek and discover what lies behind the printed page. In fact, I cannot imagine ever hearing these wonderful concertos and duets performed better than they are here.

All involved possess an exceptional sense of vitality and elegance, and they submit these world-premiere recordings for audition with an unerring combination of unforced grace and soft-grained beauty. The acoustics of Santa Maria Maddelena da Pazzi in Philadelphia are exceptional, allowing the sound to bloom but never obscuring the delicacy of the scores or overwhelming Stone’s agile interpretations. This debut by Tempesta di Mare leaves me wanting more, and there is little doubt in my mind that it will have the same effect on you.

Michael Carter, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto a cinque in C major, SC 90 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Richard Stone (Lute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempesta di Mare
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
2. Sonata in D minor, SC 58 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Emlyn Ngai (Violin), Richard Stone (Lute), Cynthia Roberts (Violin),
Vivian Barton (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempesta di Mare
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
3. Concerto for Lute and Flute in F major, SC 9 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Gwyn Roberts (Flute), Richard Stone (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
4. Concerto for Lute and Strings in B flat major, SC 57 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Richard Stone (Lute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempesta di Mare
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
5. Sonata in F major, SC 53 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Emlyn Ngai (Violin), Richard Stone (Lute), Cynthia Roberts (Violin),
Anne Marie Morgan (Viola Da Gamba)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tempesta di Mare
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
6. Concerto for Lute and Flute in B flat major, SC 6 by Silvius Leopold Weiss
Performer:  Anne Marie Morgan (Bass Viola da gamba), Gwyn Roberts (Flute), Richard Stone (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 

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