I recently heard the Chaconne in G minor by Weiss, a guitar transcription, and started looking about/for it. According to Wikipedia it seems that it is part of a full Sonata in G minor but even though I was able to find a Chaconne in G minor on Amazon there is no trace of the full Sonata anywhere. There are two other Sonatas in G minor by this composer but none of them include a Chaconne.

My question is: since I know that quite a few of this composer's works have not survived, how could I find out if all of this work and not only the Chaconne is one of the surviving ones or not?

  • edit: missed the chaconne. IMSLP has some of the works, you can look there: imslp.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Sylvius_Leopold_Weiss Aug 10, 2017 at 23:53
  • Possibly I'm missing something: SInce you heard it (even transcribed) in absence of time travel and authentic baroque era recordings it must have survived, no?!
    – guidot
    Aug 11, 2017 at 6:45
  • @guidot - I edited the question at the end. You are right I meant to ask if the rest of the "sonata" has survived. Aug 11, 2017 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


According to wikipedia,

Weiss probably wrote more than 1000 pieces for lute, from which about 850 attributed pieces survived, most of them grouped into 'sonatas' (not to be confused with the later classical sonata, based on sonata form) or suites, which consist mostly of baroque dance pieces. Weiss also wrote chamber pieces and concertos, but only the solo parts have survived for most of them.

According to Sylvius Leopold Weiss : The Complete London Manuscript the chaconne you are referring to is from "Duo No. 4 in g minor SW14". Accordingly, the chaconne itself was originally written as a duo, not a solo piece. It is subsequent generations of guitarists and lutenists that have adapted the chaconne as a solo piece.

  • Chaconne and Duo 4 in g minor WeissSW 14 : both lutenists and guitarists have been playing this chaconne for years as a solo. Indeed, if we vary the chordal sections with arpeggios and ornamentation, the result can be very satisfactory as a solo, which brings me to reiterate the possibility of Weiss playing such versatile pieces in one format or another. If the piece were played as a solo, the reprises would be justified. However, it is clear that as a duo, the result is splendidly balanced. The idea that the movements preceding the chaconne could be played as solos as well is valid since they are adaptable too (the minuet whose 15 first bars are used in the solo minuet p.11 reinforces this idea) but it is clear for me that the lute writing here is for a duo concept: look at the regular alternation between melodic lines and steady chord progressions.

AllMusic also provides details of the available recording of The London Manuscript, so the full sonata must be extant.

The difficulty of locating a full manuscript of the sonata may be due to its being a duo rather than a solo. The popularity of the solo version of the chaconne makes it easy to obtain.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.