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Silvius Leopold Weiss
(1687-1750)

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S.L.Weiss - Life
The story of a rediscovery

Lute-player Hans Neemann (1898-1943) gave the decisive impulse in the renewed interest for SL Weiss. He followed the timid research of Hans Volkmann and Karl Prusik (respectively in 1906/7 and 1923) which had caught the attention of their contemporaries.

Neumann, through his research, publications and concerts rehabilitated the lute-player who is considered as the greatest of his time today.

In 1939, when he published six suites and some isolated pieces within the prestigious series Das Erbe Deutscher Musik, he captured attention.

Unfortunately, the Second World War and the following reconstruction put an end to that kind of enterprises.

In 1976, Milanese R.Chiesa had an important volume (SL Weiss : Intravolatura di liuto, Suvini Zerboni publisher) published ; it contained 28 suites and 31 various pieces in modern notation, all of which taken from manuscripts kept in the British Museum (now British Library).
That same year, Japanese lute-player RM published 49 pieces taken from
different suites contained in the Moscow manuscripts.

In 1979, one of Weiss’ compatriots, Wolfgang Reich, had most of the manuscripts of the Landesbibliothek of Saxe in Dresden published in facsimile.

Finally, in 1980, the German publisher Peters issued the first volume of Weiss’ complete works. This project - taken up under the direction of Douglas Alton Smith, the American musicologist, and lute music history professor at the Music Academy of San Francisco - is to come to ten volumes comprising 5 facsimiles, 5 modern transcriptions including various comments and notes.

It has been continuing since 1989 under the supervision of eminent King’s College musicologist Tim Crawford (see Links).

In 2006 4 volumes are available by Peters (London manuscript in facsimile and transcription). Also 2 volumes (Dresden manuscript in facsimile) have been published by Baerenreiter.