Review By Paul-James Dwyer,Early Music America,October 2010
This new release in the complete Silvius Leopold Weiss (?1686–1750) lute sonata series contains two sonatas (No. 28 and 40) and a tombeau, all from Weiss’s middle period. Sonata No. 28 in F major, “Le fameux Corsaire,” is a lyrical and descriptive masterpiece. The opening Allemande has softly undulating chords, after an opening that suggests a smooth and silent embarkation. A Courante follows, swiftly painting a picture of relentless waves splashing on shores; the journey begun. The third movement is a Bourrée, suggesting the industry of the on-deck sailors. The fourth, a Sarabande, finds the ship floating aimlessly on a placid body of water, perhaps in full summer heat, with its hint of rubato. Other passages in the six-movement work suggest
The beautifully measured and haunting bass lines of the Tombeau sur la mort de M. Comte de Logy make it an 11-minute gem. It was dedicated to Count Johann Anton Logy von Losinthal, who in his day was hailed as “the Prince of the Lute.” Barto excels as a sensitive and eloquent interpreter of Weiss, a composer who championed an instrument that declined in popularity during the course of his own lifetime. The life dedication to the lute of both composer and interpreter is almost palpable. One relishes the commitment of Barto directly, making this recording all the more cherished.
Barto, a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, continued his studies in Europe on a Fulbright scholarship. He is regularly on the faculty at Lute Society of America events and has given master-classes in Japan, Sweden, Italy, and Spain. This recording was made in 2008 in Gloucestershire, England; Barto plays a Baroque lute by Andrew Rutherford, a well-known builder based in New York. If you have not yet acquired any of the discs in this series, Vol. 10 is an excellent place to get a taste of its quality, dedication, and freshness.