Bakfark and Waissel are not among the "popular" lutenists like Newsidler or Dowland. We haven't heard anything of Bakfark since Daniel
Benkoe, and really we have never heard anything of Waissel at all. Both lived in the period between the early lute efforts of Petrucci and the transitional time of Kapsberger and Piccinnini. Waissel was the collector who made available to his public "preambles along with selected German and Polish Dances" in the form of anthologies. Bakfark was a composer from Hungary: Kronstadt in Transsylvania, more precisely.
The music presented to us here is, by comparison, reserved. We are here surrounded not by the showy, virtuosic character of French pieces, nor the sophisticatedly balanced, harmonious playing of the French composers. This is a collection of "well-meant German Dances." "to strum on the lute," with corners and rough edges. The stylistic innovations which were the expression of the complete emancipation of instrumental music from vocal (sacred) music occurred soon after these pieces were written. Music at its outer limits. Included are intabulations of works by Clemens non Papa and Josquin Desprez and a few Polish dances (all by Waissel).
This CD is a gamble, obviously entered into by Heringman out of
conviction... and we may congratulate him on his courage. He could have
recorded hits, or music between Kapsberger and Dowland, to show off his artistry. But he didn't and obviously this was intentional [part of his artistic plan]. His playing is characterized by reserve. No virtuosic outbursts, no coquettishness bespeaking being in love with himself and his artistic prowess. I mean this very positively, even though the music that Heringman is offering us here could certainly stand a little rouge, a little more color, somewhat of a personal statement here and there. These pieces by Bakfark and Waissel do not jump out at the listener; the listener has to work at taking them in.
Gitarre und Laute, Sept/Oct 1999