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Silvius Leopold Weiss

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The story of a web page
by Laurent Duroselle

A friend of mine used to say : If J.S.Bach is not God Almighty, he can only be the fifth Evangelist. I don’t know if this phrase is his own creation, but I find it to be true. How can one describe the Master better ?

Being a fervent admirer of J.S.Bach and a sometime guitar player, I came upon S.L.Weiss. Their styles are so similar that it is sometimes difficult to make a difference between them. One needs to know the works of both musicians to distinguish them. It is also intriguing to notice that Bach was born in 1685 and Weiss only two years later in 1687 (see His life) and that both died in 1750 !

We can have access to a particularly rich variety of sources (there are countless books and web sites) concerning Bach. Strangely, very few things have been written on Weiss.

One could argue that he only wrote for the lute - besides a few chamber music pieces only the lute parts of which have reached us anyway. One would have thought that the renewed interest in Baroque music would have prompted writing on this exceptional musician.

For Weiss is no obscure composer taken from a music dictionary (few of them mention his name, by the way) ; quite on the contrary, we could call him the «Bach of the lute ».


I have therefore tried to contact people having an interest in Weiss and willing to share some information with me so that I could put together a web site.

I have no pretention to be exhaustive on the subject - there is so much more to be discovered -, I only mean to centralize and to make available to the general public the information concerning him.

The few pages dealing with Weiss (see Links) are not even listed in the main search engines.
Therefore I started my research at random, starting with music societies.

I was making no progress when I discovered Tim Crawford’s work : a unique and exemplary piece of work which came as a relief for me.

When I had made up a list of e-mails I sent out calls. And to my great surprise, Tim was one of the few people to reply. This was unhoped for and a breakthrough (see The story of a rediscovery). The kindness of his mail renewed my courage.

Then the lutenist Michel Cardin allowed me to publish his Thoughts on the London manuscript. He was very kind and helpful, what cannot be taken for granted if one takes into account the huge work, he has done in recording the complete manuscript.

I went to work : collecting, selecting, synthesizing the information and conceiving the web site.


What you have before you is the result of a passion. I do wish to enrich this site and it is obvious I cannot do it alone. You can join in the friendly chain of people who participated in its conception to make this work live on. I only hope it has given / will give you the desire to (re-)discover Silvius Leopold Weiss.