WEISS : Passacaille in D Major; Tombeau Sur La Mort De Mr. Comte De Logy (1721) In B Flat Minor - Adagio : PACHELBEL : Suite for lute in F#m :KELLNER : Fantasia in F Major: J.S. BACH : Air from Orchestral Suite No3 in D Major BWV 1068; Sonata No1 for solo violin in Gm BWV 1001; Menuet In G Major and Menuet In G Minor, ( Second Notebook For Anna Magdalena Bach, BWV Anhang 114 & 115): ROMAN: Andante from Assagio No1;Bourree from Assagio No2: BARON: Aria from Sonata for Lute in Bb Major: COUPERIN : Les Baricades Mistérieuses In B Flat Major, From The Second Book For Harpsichord Pieces : LOGY: Suite in G Major:
Göran Söllscher: Eleven string guitar
Deutsche Grammophon : 474 815 – 2
Swedish guitarist Göran Söllscher, a world – class musician, known for his playing of the 11 –string classical guitar with its 5 extra basses has here produced a masterfully performed and sensitively recorded recital. The eleven string guitar of course is a much more able instrument to play the music written originally for the 11 and 13 course baroque lute, as is the case with a lot of the music here for playing for example the music of Silvius Leopold Weiss on a 6 – string guitar, in my view simply does not work, as the last octave is simply non – existent on our beloved instrument. His opening Passacaille sounds a lot more comfortable on the 11 – string, ( of course without the double strung sound of the Baroque lute , but then I am a touch biased about that gorgeous instrument , which I did once many years ago own a copy of, but REALLY couldn’t play it , unfortunately !) The rich and close recording does the wonderful piece full justice. The Pachelbel Suite in F#m is in four movements, that being the classic Allemande Courante Sarabande and Gigue and is quite a surprise, only knowing the ‘Canon’ .I had no knowledge of any lute works at all, and so this elegant suite is a real find. It seems beautifully written for the instrument and I wonder why I have not come across it before? The Kellner Fantasia in F Major begins with a very typical arpeggio pattern that momentarily moves into a canon before returning to its arpeggiation, and closing there. It was surprisingly short. Then the famous Air on a G String, to give it its popular name appears and sounds very apt in this arrangement. After that the Menuet in G is one of THOSE tunes that if you think you don’t know the work from its title, and then you absolutely will, with its lovely tune some great harmonies and a nice performance all round. Then comes the heavyweight piece of perhaps the whole recording, the mammoth Violin Sonata No1 in Gm by JSB. Never an easy work by any standards, Söllscher has the right amount of gravitas in the opening Adagio before the famous Fuga enters at quite a speed, one that many would not attempt, and I have several recordings of players that don’t try it at that speed. Having said that, the parts are all effortlessly clear and it does all work exceedingly well with a bit more speed. The Siciliano is stately, with some lovely low bass runs that really show off the 11 string. The final Presto is exactly that, a fact that dos not trouble Söllscher for a moment. Roman’s two Assagios (a word that apparently means ‘taste’, a musical term that is new to me) are small in stature, but very pleasant, if a little insubstantial. Baron’s Aria from his lute suite flows nicely and sounds as if the whole suite would be worth hearing. The arrangement of Couperin’s piece originally for harpsichord sounds fine in its new guise, and certainly sounds as if it could have been written for the lute. Logy’s 4 – movement Suite, consists of an Allemande, Courante, Menuet and a Gigue and is a nice piece, but doesn’t reach the heights in my opinion that some of the other works do. The album closes on a high the wonderful Tombeau sur la mort de Mr. Comte de Logy in Bbm of Silvius Weiss, a wonderful piece of writing that would probably sound great on any instrument it was played on, such is its beauty. Here it makes for a lovely dignified close to an album of top – class performances, very clear recordings of a beautiful instrument, and only one or two pieces that seemed a little ordinary. The rest are well worth the effort and if you have never tried an album of guitar music with these lower strings, then get this fine album and you won’t be disappointed at all.