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Sylvius Leopold Weiss 1686-1750


Virtuoso lutanist and composer for that instrument, Weiss's first professional appointment was to the Prince of Poland in Rome (1708-1714). After 1717 Weiss served as a chamber musician in the royal court at Dresden with such notables as Pisendel, Hasse, Porpora, Lotti, and Gluck. Generally acclaimed to have been the greatest lutanist of all time, Weiss and fellow lutanist, Johann Kropffgans, visited Bach in 1739. Weiss was known as a great improvisor (that is until his thumb was nearly bitten off by an enraged French violinist), and it is reported that on one occasion Weiss engaged Bach in a friendly improvisation contest.

Bach's World Contemporaries Chronology