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Aria by Losy

Charming Lute Music for Classical Guitar

"Aria - An air or melody or an elaborate melody sung solo with accompaniment, as in an opera or oratorio..."

This piece by Johann Anton Losy (sometimes incorrectly spelled Logy) is a wonderful example of baroque writing by a musician relatively forgotten in guitar history even though he moved in high musical circles in his day. It was composed for the lute rather than guitar but still "sits" very well on our instrument.

Johann Anton Losy was a lutenist whose background is somewhat clouded but believed to have had his ancestry in Switzerland. The family had moved to Bohemia and by the time Losy had become semi-famous they had "appropriated" him as one of their own. His father was rather well-to-do and supplied the young musician with the time and means to practice, even indulge his art.

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Indeed, he was adjudged with the best of his day even though he was considered an "amateur musician" in certain quarters. Graham Wade, writing in A Concise History of the Classic Guitar said...

"Throughout the lifetime of J.S. Bach many lutenists continued their profession as court musicians, frequently traveling to centers of musical excellence to demonstrate their prowess. Players such as Losy Von Losingthal (Our man), Ferdinand Hinterliethner, David Kellner, Wolff Jakob Lauffensteiner, Adam Falkenhagen, Ernst Gottlieb Baron...and the great Sylvius Leopold Weiss kept the lute's prestige alive in the high Baroque period."

The famous Weiss held Losy in such high regard that at the time of his death wrote a memorial Tombeau for him which is still regarded today as one of his finest works. Tombeau means tomb in English but its wider meaning is, according to wikipedia.com ... "a work of art (literature or music) in memory and homage to a deceased person".

This piece belongs to one of his best known works, the Partita in A minor, and although it is written in common cut time should be played at around MM 76 crotchet beats for best effect. Losy championed a real mixture of styles at the time which incorporated the "Galant French style" and the "Italianate" style of playing the lute known as "style brise". Briefly, this basically meant, as its core ideal, the notion that the lute's notes could not be sustained for very long, so the "illusion" was created of broken, arpeggiated chords played in rapid succession so that it sounded as though many voices were "criss-crossing" and "weaving a rich tapestry of song".

Here is a video of the this lovely piece...

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In fact, the Galant Style was the precursor and a big influence on Mozart among many others. Being a relatively easy piece you won't see the Galant Style to full effect in this little aria, but you will notice distinct voicing in the chordal changes so you must be careful to hold the notes correctly to get the full effect.

For a further good definition of an Aria click here...

Here are a few related pages in which you may be interested...

Gaspar Sanz

Baroque Guitar W/CD

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Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

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