It has been a while since writing a medically non-related blog, so here it goes! As many of you know, I have an interest in classical guitar and have played the instrument for many years. Recently, I have been too distracted to practice efficiently and have, out of necessity, put the instrument away for a while.
Yesterday, I was listening to a piece by the great German lutenist Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and I find it a shame most people outside of the guitar/lute circle are not familiar with his work.
Weiss was born in 1687 in Grottkau, near Breslau, which is now Wroclaw in Poland. He passed away in 1750. He was a contemporary of J.S. Bach (1685-1750). When the two finally met in 1739, J.S. Bach’s personal secretary documented: “Anyone who knows how difficult it is to play harmonic modulations and good counterpoint on the lute will be surprised and full of disbelief to hear from eyewitnesses that Weiss, the great lutenist, challenged J. S. Bach, the great harpsichordist and organist, at playing fantasies and fugues.”
Some sources even mention Bach composed his lute suites after meeting Weiss, although I am not sure this has been definitively verified.
Here are two of my favorite pieces by Weiss, and two of my favorite performances of these pieces on YouTube. Both have a theme and variation style, which originally started in the Renaissance and continued to Baroque and beyond.
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