The Last Instrument fit for a Gentleman to Play

July 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm (By Theo Boehm) (, , )

(Cross-posted from A Quiet Evening.)

It’s the easiest thing in the world to “blog” by pointing to a YouTube video. Lame as it may from the standpoint of originality, I can’t help putting up something recent by Robert Barto, one of the great lute players of this, or I suspect, any other time.

The lute is another of those musical spectres who have found a way to haunt us and maybe tell a few ghost stories, but I hope not those that knock under tables or slam doors at midnight. This particular piece is an Entrée from a Suite in A major by S.L. Weiss, lutenist at the Dresden Hofkapelle, who was an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach, and who was a friend of Bach and his family, and a sometimes friendly competitor as well. Bach transcribed another movement of this Weiss piece for harpsichord, which he used in his violin sonata, BWV 1025.  I’ve blogged about Weiss and Bach previously here.

Here’s Weiss himself, who manages to look a bit like Barto, but with a wig.  I don’t know whose hair is worse:

Having considered Emerson a bit in my previous post, I’m working on another about Time, somewhat from the perspective of Emerson’s Vedantic philosophy, and which features Dresden, not so much as a symbol, but something deeply embedded in me. So, it seems nice to have a little quiet music from Baroque Dresden, before I treat you to firebombed Dresden.

And much as I admire Amanda Palmer, who grew up in the next town and frequently makes me wish I was young, none of this has anything at all to do with the Dresden Dolls.

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