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Silvius Leopold Weiss

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Catalogue raisonné

Last updated: 2022-03-30 (PDF)
© 2000-2023, Peter Van Dessel

I. Introduction

History and essential Bibliography

This list grew from a need to know, e.g. in a record shop, whether a new release of music by S.L. Weiss contained pieces already recorded or not. I have now decided to call this endeavour a "Catalogue raisonné", because I have tried to combine a work-list with a survey of what has been put on disc using the instrument for which the music was written. [For the time being at least, guitar trancriptions have been left out.] But I lay no claim to completeness, and will welcome any additional information readers may be able to provide. What is presented here is the work of a lover of the lute and of Weiss in particular, not of a trained musicologist.

In the beginning, there was a set of file cards for purely personal use based only on aural recognition and memory. Then I chanced upon D.A. Smith's article on Weiss in the January 1980 issue of Early Music, with its footnote references to his own dissertation and to a planned publication of Weiss's complete works for lute. These two works have enabled me to elaborate this Catalogue into its present form:

  • Sm = Douglas Alton Smith, The Late Sonatas of Silvius Leopold Weiss. Stanford University, Ph.D. 1977. Appendix II (pp. 123-270) is an "Index of Incipits and Concordances", which remains the closest thing we have to a true (thematic) catalogue of Weiss's output. Smith accorded a separate number to each individual piece, even when part of a sonata, and these have been retained for purposes of reference. [This indispensable tool is still available, I believe, from University Microfilms in Ann Arbor, Mich., USA; they have a website.]
  • SW= Silvius Leopold Weiss. Sämtliche Werke für Laute in Tabulatur und Übertragung / Complete Works for Lute in Tablature and Transcription.

    Vols. I-IV: The London Manuscript, ed. D.A. Smith. Frankfurt, Peters, 1983-1990.

    Vols. V-VIII: The Dresden Manuscript, ed. T. Crawford & D. Kirsch. Kassel, Baerenreiter, 2004- .

    Vols. IX-X: The Remaining Sources, ed. T.Crawford & D. Kirsch [in preparation]

The concept

The 'Catalogue raisonné' proper falls into two parts: a work-list with references to recordings, and a listing of known discs with reference to the works recorded.

Following the SW, the term 'Sonata' is employed throughout. The term 'Suite' is reserved for personal assemblages of movements by performers (now less common than in the 70s & 80s). The term used on the disc itself, if different from 'S(u)onata', is cited between square brackets after the disc reference.

The work-list is further subdivided into

  • Solo sonatas as numbered in SW : 1-32 (London), 33-52 (Dresden). and provisionally numbered solo sonatas (with thanks to Tim Crawford): only recorded sonatas are listed here.
  • Hybrid suites made up of movements from different sonatas by the performer.
  • Miscellaneous solo pieces as numbered in SW [they are asterisked (e.g. 1*): 1*-28* (London), 29*-33* (Dresden) and provisionally numbered pieces.
  • Ensemble works as numbered in SW.
  • In the last Section the known recordings are listed in alphabetical order of performer, with cross-reference to the work-list.


Number and key of sonata - (Dresden number)

Col. 1 - Movements

Movement names have been uniformized; variant orthographies in the source(s) - aside from simple abbreviations - are given in brackets.

Movements not directly associated with a sonata in the source(s) or SW - e.g. an added Prelude - are italicized and numbered distinctively. Sonatas with more than one such 'foreign' movement listed separately in Section IIc ('hybrid suites').

Col. 2 - Sm

This column gives the piece's number in Smith's "Index of Incicpits" (see above).

Col. 3 - Source(s)

Gives the location of the main source(s): L = London, D = Dresden, M = Moscow, V = Vienna, W = Warsaw, etc. (see Smith or the editor's commentary in SW for details).

Col. 4 - SW

Volume and page numbers of the SW where the music is found in staff notation.

Col. 5 - Comments

  • Recordings: the following information is provided here:
  • Movements (and the order in which they are played): 'complete' recordings of sonatas are listed first, in alphabetical order of performer; thereafter recordings of separate movements.
  • Name of performer; an (r) after the performer's name indicates a 'recital' disc, i.e. one that also contains music by other composers than Weiss.
  • (Month and) year of recording; the year of release is marked with ⓟ if it differs from that of recording or if the latter is not known.
  • Format (CD or LP), label name, and disc reference. In the case of multiple-disc sets, the relevant disc, and for LPs the relevant side ('a' or 'b'), is indicated in parentheses after the catalogue number. If both formats are attested, the CD reference takes precedence; details of the LP will be found in footnote in Section VI.
    Recordings I have not (yet) heard personally are marked by a bold asterisk (*).
    [Disc catalogue numbers may vary from country to country, and I (can) give only those that I know.]


to my wife Lieve, for her patience;

to Laurent Duroselle, for the hospitality of his Weiss-website and for providing access to discs I had not (yet) heard;

to Markus Lutz, the webmaster of the Weiss-site;

to Tim Crawford, for confirmation of sundry details, for information on the progress of the SW and a preview of the contents of the final SW volumes [Sonatas 61ff.];

to Michel Cardin, for his encouragement, advice and friendship;

to Lutz Kirchhof, who has provided me with his very first (LP) recording (Sonata 40)

to Jan Grüter, István Kónya, Mariusz Myszkiewicz, Jay Klales & Orum Stringer, Clive Titmuss, Jerzy Zak for kindly providing a copy of their respective CDs;

to Sandro Wilhelm of Musikvertrieb AG in Zurich, for sending me a copy of the Weiss CD of William Waters;

to Andrei Rossius, for sending me the recordings of Alexander Suetin;

to Stephen Stubbs, for providing detailed information on his now unfortunately deleted CD;

to Waldemar Piotrowski, for providing the Dux-CD of Jakob Lindberg;

to Mauricio Buraglia, and John Buckman of Magnatune;

to Peter Király, Markus Lutz, Edward Martin, Toyohiko Satoh, Thomas Schall, Richard Stone, Roman Turovsky for information on recordings;

to Rainer Schmidt, for assistance in contacting people;

to Vivien Taylor (Head, W.D.Jordan Special Collections & Music Library of Queen's University, Kingston (Ontario), Canada), for providing a tape of Weiss items recorded by Ernie Hills and Aaron Skitri, which are otherwise no longer available.

Known lacunae: items still to be positively identified

Lucas Harris (r) – 2 CDs, both would include some Weiss

Xavier Diaz-Latorre (r) — CD / Passacaille 1030 — probably the Fantasie 9*