LABELS: BGS Records
WORKS: The Heart Trembles with Pleasure: Overture in B flat; Sonata in F; Partita in G minor; Suite in C minor
PERFORMER: Nigel North (lute)
CATALOGUE NO: BGS119
For over 30 years Sylvius Leopold Weiss was a jewel in Dresden Court’s musical crown. A lutenist who set hearts trembling with pleasure according to one Court poet, he was also a composer whose ‘singing’ style – beneficiary of the Italianate example of the Scarlattis and Corelli – finds an incomparable ally in arguably the greatest ‘lute-singer’ of our day: Nigel North.
Taking its cue from the poet’s encomium, the disc’s title, The Heart Trembles with Pleasure nonetheless harbours private resonances both medical and emotional as North explains in the booklet; and in common with the Beethoven of the Op. 132 String Quartet, North experiences ‘feelings of new strength’ as he explores a clutch of youthful suites predating the Dresden years.
The earliest work is the C minor Suite of 1706, which together with a sombre G minor Partita, frames the F major Sonata whose Prelude North inhabits with a keen ear for harmonic adventures. Spacious and probing in the Allemande, he delivers a wonderfully extrovert Courante and a Menuet oozing sophisticated urbanity. Unfailingly, North’s playing is scrupulously considered yet spontaneous. More please! Paul Riley