Frederick the Great’s court in Potsdam was a recreation in Germany of Versailles – Frederick loved all things French. He also imported the baroque lute, an instrument that had been created in France. Frederick was a gifted flautist, and employed Johann Joseph Quantz as his court composer and teacher. Meanwhile, Princess Wilhemine, Frederick’s sister, was a gifted lutenist and pupil of the great Silvius Weiss. She and she and her husband the Margrave of Bayreuth, established a small scale Versaille of their own in the small north Baverian town. They built a delightful opera house in the town that still exists. Wilhelmina employed both Adam Falckhagen(1697-1754) and Joachim Bernhard Hagen (1720-87), the latter being the pupil of the former. Hagen was employed at Bayreuth primarily as a violinist after studies with Geminiani, however his many lute concertos and sonatas were composed for Bayreuth. Not until the 1870s and the arrival of Richard Wagner would this normally sleepy town return to being one of the centres of musical life in Germany.
The third composer on this CD is Christian Gottlieb Scheidler (1752-1815), one of the last great German lutenists. Although not connected with Bayreuth, his work 12 Variations on a theme by Mozart represents the last known work written for the lute, and therefore is an apposite choice to end this programme of German classical lute music.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.