Monday, November 5, 2007

Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750)

Weiss came from a family of lutenists and learned the lute from his father, starting around the age of ten. As a young man he lived with and played for the Polish Prince Alexander Sobiesky and his mother, Queen Maria Casimira in Rome. The Queen employed both Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti as music directors, and so it is likely that Weiss had contact with these musicians during his stay. After the death of the prince, Weiss returned to Germany to eventually become the highest paid instrumentalist at the Dresden court. His career nearly came to a tragic end when the top joint of his right thumb was nearly bitten off during an attack by a French violinist in 1722. He traveled and played throughout Europe, establishing a reputation as a fine musician wherever he went. Weiss is remembered as one of the finest lutenists ever, and also made a major contribution in the area of compositions for his instrument: he wrote nearly 600 works in the late Baroque style, and his compositions are sometimes harmonically inventive. - Malaspina Biography

Sheet music: Silvius Leopold Weiss

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