Sylvius Leopold Weiss

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Sylvius Leopold Weiss.

Sylvius Leopold Weiss (also spelled Silvius Leopold Weiss; 12 October 1687 - 16 October 1750) was a German composer and lutenist (somebody who plays the lute).

Life[change | change source]

Weiss was born in Breslau, Silesia. His father, Johann Jacob Weiss, was a lute player. His brother, Johann Sigismund Weiss, was also a lute player. Weiss learned playing the lute from his father.[1]

In 1706, he worked for Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine. He wrote his first piece of music in Düsseldorf, which was a lute sonata in C major. In 1708, Prince Alexander Sobiesky invited Weiss to Italy. He stayed in Rome with the prince's family. He might have worked with Italian composers in Rome. He had to return to Germany when the prince died.[2]

Weiss worked for Elector Charles Philipp again. In 1718, Weiss travelled to London. In London, he gave a concert every week. In August 1718, he became a member of the court chapel in Dresden. In 1718, Weiss visited Vienna. He played for the emperor. In 1722, he was attacked by a French violinist named Petit. Petit tried to bite Weiss' right thumb off. Weiss was not hurt badly.[1][2]

In 1723, Weiss went to Prague with Johann Joachim Quantz and Carl Heinrich Graun. They performed Johann Joseph Fux's opera, Constanza e fortezza. In 1728, he went to Berlin. He stayed in Berlin for three months. He taught Frederick the Great's sister, Princess Wilhelmine. Weiss also taught other lutenists. One of his students was Adam Falckenhagen.

Weiss died on 16 October 1750 in Dresden. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Dresden. Weiss was the highest-paid musician in Dresden. Even so, his family was poor when he died.[2]

Music[change | change source]

Weiss was one of the most important composers for the lute. He was one of the greatest players of the instrument. Even so, people forgot about Weiss' music after he died. This was because the lute was being replaced by keyboard instruments. Not everyone can read Weiss' music, because it was written in tablature notation.[3]

A lot of Weiss' music is now lost.[1]

Johann Sebastian Bach knew Weiss' music. He arranged a lute sonata by Weiss for violin and harpsichord.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Smith, Douglas Alton (1980). "Sylvius Leopold Weiss". Early Music. 8 (1): 47–58. ISSN 0306-1078.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Reily, Edward R.; Smith, Douglas Alton; Crawford, Tim. "Weiss family". Grove Music Online (8th ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.30065.
  3. Haas er Wengel, Stefan (2008). La retórica como guía para la interpretación del preludio de la Sonata No 34 en Re menor de Sylvius Leopold Weiss (Thesis) (in Spanish). Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Retrieved 16 March 2022.