Lute Virtuosos at the time of Johann Sebastian Bach
During the Renaissance with its great variety of musical instruments, the Lute had already played an outstanding role. Although the instrument demanded extraordinary technique and intuition, it was known everywhere and enjoyed a great popularity.
What fascinated generations over many centuries was the subtlety of its music. Both hands of the player produce its tones and are in immediate contact to the strings. The finest tone colors and nuances, various forms of vibrato, a smooth alteration of attacks and of dynamics, are only a few of the creative and aural possibilities on this instrument. A practiced performer on this instrument had infinite expressive possibilities at his command. The refined and most secretive atmosphere that emerged from the Lute, made it possible to transform the listener into extraordinary worlds of feeling and to lure him out again, only to seduce him into still another emotional universe.
With the beginning of the Age of Sensitivity, the lute could excellently bring these qualities to the fore. The three composers on this recording have different styles and use the various possibilities of the lute in individual ways.
All three Lutenists were active at the time of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach heard their music and experienced them in concert and, with certainty, influenced their styles of composing. Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Johann Kropfganss were guests in the Bach home where they also engaged in musical evenings with him. Rudolf Straube was a student of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Johann Sebastian Bach developed a close friendship and were reported to have frequently delivered musical contests during such visits in which, amazingly, neither of them could demonstrate his superiority over the other.