Weiss, Sylvius Leopold: Three Late Sonatas for Classical Guitar

Three late sonatas for classical guitar by Sylvius Leopold Weiss.
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KomponistWeiss, Silvius Leopold
InstrumentationClassical Guitar
ForlagMel Bay

Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687–1750) is known to guitarists as the greatest baroque composer for the lute, yet most are only familiar with the earlier portion of Weiss’s prolific output found in the British Library in London. Inspired by a forty-year friendship with the late Douglas Alton Smith - a major figure in the scholarly study of the history of the lute - guitarist, composer, and head of the guitar program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Allen Krantz explored the Weiss manuscripts found in other European cities, particularly the Dresden editions which contain the fifteen sonatas that Weiss produced from the late 1730s to the end of his life.

Transcriptions of three of those fifteen late sonatas are featured in this book in modern standard notation along with the original lute tablature as found in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Dresden. While the baroque lute’s tuning makes some works awkward or impossible on the guitar, the three works presented here—Sonatas No. 35 in D minor, No. 42 in A minor and No. 45 in A Major— are in their original keys which happen to be guitar-friendly.

The author’s generous and scholarly “Preface” provides thorough historical and performance notes for the music in this volume. While just three of Weiss’s 109 multi-movement lute sonatas are represented here, the importance of this publication cannot be overstated. It contains some of the greatest music of a masterful lutenist— Weiss once faced-off with J. S. Bach on keyboards in a counterpoint improvisation contest—now made accessible to the modern classical guitarist.

Preface to the Late Sonatas of Silvius Weiss
Sonata No. 35 in D minor
1. Allemande: Adagio
2. Courante
3. Paysane
4. Sarabande: Adagio
5. Menuet
6. Allegro
Sonata No. 42 in A minor
1. Allemande: Largo
2. Allegro
3. Bourrée: Posato
4. Sarabande
5. Menuet
6. Giga: Presto
Sonata No. 45 in A Major
1. Introduzzione: Largo
2. Courante
3. Bourrée
4. Sarabande: Grave 
5. Menuet
6. Presto
Original Tablature Facsimiles
Sonata No. 35
Sonata No. 42
Sonata No. 45
About the Author