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Silvius Leopold Weiss
(1687-1750)

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S.L.Weiss - Documents
Gottscheds Handlexicon

1. The Lute
2. Silvio Leopold Weiß

The Handlexicon oder Kurzgefaßtes Wörterbuch der schönen Wissenschaften und freyen Künste has been published by Johann Christoph Gottsched in 1760 in Leipzig. Included are two articles by Luise Adelgunde Victorie Gottsched, that are speaking very detailled of Silvius Leopold Weiss. These articles have been known long before, but Frank Legl was the first to realize their historical relevance. He shows, that Luise Gottsched has written them, who had been very closely acquainted with Silvius Leopold Weiss. Therefore these articles are an important document for the life of Silvius Leopold Weiss (Cf. Frank Legl's essay Zwischen Grottkau und Neuburg, Neues zur Biographie von Silvius Leopold Weiss, in Die Laute, Jahrbuch der Deutschen Lautengesellschaft, Nr. IV, 2000, S.1-40).

Die Laute 

Lute, the

is a musical instrument with strings, that are plucked with both hands. Formerly she had only six doubled courses, afterwards she has, especially by Silvio Leopold Weiss, gained another shape. Because of her harmony and amenity and because she is able to accompany herself, she can be used as a pastime by persons who love to be alone. But she can also be used in the greatest concerts, if she has 13 courses and is theorbiert. In France the Gaultiers had been famous at the end of the past century on this instrument: Germany will be honouring its Weiss in eternity as the second father and greatest master of the lute. It seems, that this instrument is not easy and noisy enough for the French carelessness although in Germany persons are known, whom it has not become difficult from their tender youth.
(Handlexicon, Sp. 1004f)

Silvio Leopold Weiß

Weiß, (Sylvio Leopold)

a great lutenist was born in Groetkau, a little village in Silesia, in 1687. His first master was his father: he brought him with his excellent disposition so far, that he played within his seventh year before Emperor Leopold. In the year 1710 he went to Rome, after looking around in Germany before, and attracted general attention. In the year 1718 he was appointed by King August II. to Dresden. This great artist can be called somewhat the father of Lute, because she won another shape by him. He has not only put her from 11 to 13 courses, he has also made her neck straight or theorbiret, so she is now able to be played in the greatest concerts. Mostly his compositions stand out of any other that are known. They are called difficult by some persons, but only by them who are careless or too old, or have a liking for another instrument; although they really are difficult to get, because the late man was very hard to let them out of his hands. Who possesses a great collection of them, has to regard it as a treasure and to estimate it highly. His stroke was very gentle; one heard him and didn't know where the tones came from. In phantasizing he was uncompared, piano and forte he had completely in his power. Shortly, he was master of his instrument, and could do with it what he wanted. His works consists of solos, trios, great concerts, Tombeaux - of which the one for the count of lochi is incorrigible - and some little but few pieces of galanterie. He died in 1750 and the world lost in him the greatest lutenist that Europe ever had heard and admired.
(Handlexicon, c.1644f)