Baron: Music For Lute Solo & Lute And Recorder

Album cover art for upc 5028421960807
Catalog: BRI96080

Hofstotter, Bernhard; Korchynska, Bozhena; Bil, Mariya

Though the music of Ernst Gottlieb Baron (1696–1760) is scarcely known to the wider public, the complete edition of his surviving compositions presented by Jan W.J. Burgers in 2005 offers an excellent opportunity to study and perform the works of this late Baroque master and restore them to the status they deserve. Though it can be assumed a large portion of his work was lost, with around a dozen suites for solo lute and ten ensemble pieces with obbligato lute, Baron’s extant oeuvre is nonetheless substantial. In the solo compositions, we predominantly find short, mostly two-part pieces in a late Baroque idiom. While these ‘simple’ suites, likely intended for pupils, offer little justification for Baron’s contemporaries having ranked him among the most important German composers of his day, the solo compositions also include works of a very different quality. The first four movements of the Suite [Partie] in F recorded here draw on wide-ranging melodic arcs and expressive modulations. The Suite [Sonata] in B flat is attributed by the original copyist to Silvius Leopold Weiss, and to Baron only by a later copyist. But it has been rightly pointed out that the presumed authorship of Weiss does not stand up to a stylistic comparison. Baron’s ensemble works include eight suites or sonatas for lute and melody instrument with a cello at times added as a bass part. In some of these works the treatment of the lute part is particularly virtuosic, assigning the lute an important role in the melodic composition. Baron’s surviving chamber music shows him as a master of the ‘galant’ style and offers attractive and original music from a time in which the lute was already losing ground before disappearing completely from concert life in the second half of the 18th century, soon after Baron’s death.

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