Silvyus Leopold Weiss (1687-1750) was a prolific composer of lute music. Weiss also composed concertos and larger chamber works, however, much do not survive. Weiss’ first lute suite is dated between 1706 – 1717.
One of the few things that stands out in the Weiss' suite is the use of modal mixture and some unconventional resolutions. Listening to the first movement of the suite (ending at 1:47) showcases this as well as some other things. The most interesting being the cadence between 0:45 - 0:47 where Weiss lands on a rather awesome unpredicted chord.
Not being able to find conventional notation for this suite makes providing a visual analysis difficult, however, there are still many elements that help place this piece in music history. Such as the use of pedal points, suspensions, and cadential trills.
I want to compare the Weiss’ Suite with J.S. Bach’s third Lute Suite in E minor BWV 996 from 1714-1717, roughly the same time as Weiss’ work. While both suite are comprised of dance movements and are structured similar, the primary differences come with the melodic writing.
Bach's work seems to be less motivically driven, while Weiss seems to establish themes and utilize small fragments of the larger whole as both melody and accompaniment. Harmonically, Weiss seems to incorporate his superior knowledge of the instrument by using many more bass notes. This also transitions to Weiss' use of more complex polyphony found in his suites when compared to the Bach Suites.
I chose to look at the Weiss Lute Suite because I somewhat favor them over the Bach Lute works. While the Bach works are still great, as a performer on the instrument and good composer, Weiss’ works just sound better.
Michel Cardin, “The London Manuscript unveiled”, http://www.slweiss.de/index.php?id=5&type=londonunv&lang=eng
"Silvyus Leopold Weiss Suites N 1,2,3,Michel Cardin" YouTube video, 1:11:55. Posted by "Gravi Cembalo," upload December 23, 2012. video.
"J. S. Bach - Lute Suite, BWV 996 (Part 1) " YouTube video, 7:53. Posted by "moltoallegro19," upload April 46 2010. video.