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Published on Feb 19, 2012
≈ Painting ≈ The painting - "A sleeping dog" by Gerrit Dou - can be found on Wghenry.Blogspot.com.
≈ History ≈ based on the Grove Dictionary, Bach Cantatas & SLWEISS.com The story of master lutenist Sylvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) bears a striking similarity to that of Mozart, both being child prodigies taught by their fathers from a young age - by his seventh year Weiss had already performed for Emperor Leopold I - and propelled to international renown in their adult lives. In the case of Weiss, throughout his life the lutenist occupied lucrative positions in the courts of European aristocracy: in 1706 and 1715-1717 Weiss served in the court of the Count of the Palatinate; he spent 1710-14 in Italy with the Polish Prince Sobiesky; by 1717 he was listed as a member of the chapel at the Saxon court in Dresden; in September 1718 he was sent with eleven of the court's best musicians to Vienna where he played for the Emperor. These are only some of the composer's engagements. By 1744, Weiss was the highest-paid instrumentalist at the Saxon court with a salary of 1 400 Thalers and seemingly enjoyed the recognition of the whole continent. In particular, Bach arranged Weiss' Sonata No. 47 as BWV 1025 (1), while in 1728 Telemann oversaw the publication of the composer's Sonata No. 49, the sole work of the lutenist to be printed in his lifetime. However, in stark comparison to Mozart, Weiss' name fell into obscurity soon after his death and has resurfaced only recently with the advent of the Baroque Revival.
(1): There is also a suggestion that both composers competed in improvisation as full equals.
≈ Music ≈ As a small bonus to the Arrangement of four Weiss solo lute sonatas that has been posted earlier, I am also uploading a section from one of the composer's Lute Duets - the rustic opening Andante with its delicate contrast in the instruments' lines.
≈ Scores ≈ Sadly, no complete sets of sheet music for Weiss' various sonatas can be found in open access at the moment.
≈ Recording ≈ The 1998 Symphonia issue features both an impressive duo of soloists in Robert Barto and Karl-Ernst Schroder and an exceptionally warm acoustic of the Eremo di Ronzano (bird songs feature prominently in the background adding a hint of rustic charm to the proceedings).