Galanterie: Music for Lute by Weiss

'North colours every affect with an unerring instinct for maximum expressivity'

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

ALBUM TITLE: Galanterie: Music for Lute by Weiss
WORKS: Lute music, Vol. 3: Partita in D minor; Sonatas in C minor & F minor
PERFORMER: Nigel North (lute)


Not for Nigel North a prosaically numerical filing system for his ongoing Weiss odyssey. True we have reached volume three; but like its predecessors there’s a title. And if it lacks the seductive resonance of Volume 1’s ‘The heart trembles with pleasure’ (Dresden Court poet Johann Ulrich von König’s verdict on hearing Weiss play), ‘Galanterie’ perfectly encapsulates a disc given over to the ear-pleasing imperatives of the newly emerging galant style.

In his influential 1727 treatise on the lute, Gottlieb Baron hailed Weiss’s artistry as ‘the most sound, galant, and perfect of all’, adding that Weiss inhabited ‘forcefulness and delicacy as the music demands’. He could almost have been writing of North himself, whose majestically sonorous 13-course lute is preternaturally alive to every nuance contained in the sonatas and Partita – composed during Weiss’s first decade in Dresden – recorded here. All are in minor keys, but the overall mood is elevated rather than melancholy. And with typical thoroughness, North interpolates a Prelude to the C minor Sonata found only in the London manuscript version of the work. He colours every affect with an unerring instinct for maximum expressivity; and there isn’t a phrase that’s not turned with supreme elegance and shapeliness – the F minor Allemande quietly introspective, its Courante lithe and purposeful.


Paul Riley