Suonata per il Liuto in D minor (complete)
Weiss, Sylvius Leopold
This unusual work, copied in Weiss' own hand in the large Dresden Manuscripts preserving part of his enormous output of over 550 lute pieces, is an example of his late style. Weiss explores the limits of lute composition by extending the length of the movements and their harmonic complexity. He achieves a unique synthesis of the German lute schools which preceded him and the violin writing then in vogue in Italy. In the Allemande adagio the dramatic dotted rhythms of the French Entrée are underscored with a chromatic bass line which requires the stopping of the lower strings of the lute. The low-pitched Paysane is an evocation of the French classic traditions of the lute; the viruosic Courante overwhelms the listener with and unbroken flow of eighth notes. The martial air of the Allegro, with its percussive dissonances, stepwise solo bass lines and surprising modulations, recalls the Italian concerto style of Bach. Weiss closes the Suonata, not with a Gigue as in his early work, but with a tense and demanding Minuet, whose relentless motion and orchestral sonorities bring the whole work to a satisfying conclusion.
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