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Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, May 2013

…Robert Barto…is an eloquent story-teller who keeps his audience captivated through his excellent ‘diction’ and his differentiated account of the material. He is also a fine dancing master with a good sense of rhythm: if he plays a dance movement it is hard to keep your feet still. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, July 2012

Barto’s playing is technically flawless, and he has an excellent grasp of Weiss’s idiom…His phrasing is clear and comfortable, his ornamentation tasteful. Lute fans will enjoy this. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Brian Reinhart
MusicWeb International, June 2012

The three sonatas on this disc present Weiss in his happier, more placid vein. Sonata No 96 packs seven tiny movements…posing fewer challenges to the performer but offering the listener bite-sized delights. Sonata No 30 opens with a free-form prelude which the booklet says is representative of Weiss’s improvisatory way with the form. The improvisational feel returns at the end, in a sprightly movement titled ‘Le Sans Souci’ that bounds along for just two-and-a-half minutes.

The booklet essay provides a very good introduction to the enterprise. I am a hopeless addict to this music and to the outstandingly high quality with which it is presented… © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Hurwitz, February 2012

there is a wide range of size and shape to these three sonatas. Certainly Robert Barto plays beautifully, with crystal clear articulation and sweet timbre on a lovely-sounding baroque instrument…it’s good stuff, performed with great insight and sympathy. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2012

Leaving in excess of six hundred works on his death in 1750, Sylvius Leopold Weiss had the most extensive catalogue of lute music attributed to one composer. A large number carried the name Sonatas—also described as Suites or Serenatas—and were obviously intended for his performance as being among the great virtuosos of his era. The present disc contains one of his finest and most extended scores, the Thirty-ninth sonata, lasting almost half and hour and carries the title Partita Grande. To establish its status it begins with a majestic Overture to set the scene for the stately dances, the work rounded off with a sprightly Presto. The Thirtieth, dating from ten years previous, is almost as long, is in seven movements, and has the addition of the usual Allemande that becomes its most extended section. Here the Prelude has less weight; the Sarabande quite stately; the Gavotte quite delightful, with the unusual title, Le Sans Souci (The carefree), bringing the work to a very happy conclusion. Though given a high number, the Ninety-sixth, was probably a much earlier score that did not come to light until found in Moscow more than a decade after his death. Weiss had taught in Russia (or maybe the Ukraine) in the 1730’s, this sonata possibly written for his pupil and stayed with him, its demands certainly not as exacting as elsewhere. Each of its seven movements are of quite short duration, though the final Presto has the requisite brio. Robert Barto has been the assured exponent of a series that has now reached its eleventh volume…he is a superb performer, and the UK recording is all that we could ask for. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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