"Salon music and instrumental virtuosity in the 19th century"

The early 19th century literature for guitar consists of works of two fundamental genres; salon music composed primarily for the simple pleasure of music-making in ensemble, and solo works of an exceptional instrumental virtuosity. In both cases, leading guitarists of the period such as Giuliani, Carulli, Sor, Molino and Moretti have provided us with a prodigious and remarkable repertoire.

There exist more than 1500 works in the "general catalogue" published by A.G.I.F., which await their premier before contemporary audiences.

With original period instruments and a knowledge of 19th century performance practice the performance of these works can provide a rare opportunity for a glimpse into the musical style and sound of this era.

Program

MAURO GIULIANI                  2 Walzer Op. 57

These precious gems, fine examples of the refined music typically enjoyed by the nobility and the bourgeoisie of the Viennese salons of the early 1800's demonstrate the popularity and universality of the Italian "bel canto" style.

 MAURO GIULIANI                 Variazioni Op. 45 "Sulla Follia di Spagna"

The ancient Iberian theme is here adapted to the tastes of the Viennese salon genre, conserving, however, a serious spirit and a Spanish "flamenco" flavor throughout its progressive variation.

MAURO GIULIANI                   Variazioni Op. 1O7 "Su Tema di Haendel"

These variations, based on Haendel's very popular theme from the "Harmonious Blacksmith", take the listener progressively from the baroque, passing by the gallant and classic styles, to an early romanticism, in which we can identify the roots of Italian "bel canto", and a magnificent instrumental virtuosity.

 Intermission 

LUIGI MORETTI                          Variazioni Op. 7 "Sulla Follia di Spagna"

This work, written in a transitional phase for the guitar, seems to look back to the earlier 5-string baroque instrument at the same time as it aspires to a new "classical" style. Its sweet and lulling theme is varied in a manner which explores the timbral possibilities of the instrument, mantaining a strong expressivity and creating a very intimate atmosphere. 

FRANCESCO MOLINO               Grande Ouverture Op. 17

The grandiose title of this work detracts from the simpler yet more refined details which make up its real character. Thus this important composition, as yet unpublished in modern edition, is characterized by an enchanting melody and lively, gracious timbral effects. Its virtuosity is of a quality which reminds us of Rossini, containing an irony and a free and easy sense of entertainment which animated the French salons of the period.

LUIGI MORETTI                         Andante (dalla Sonata op.11)

Shifting emphasis from the melodic line, to chordal progressions in sequence, to arpeggios with dissonant effects, this Andante is a bold example of the 19th century instrument's expressive possibilities, and promote a conception of the guitar which would be fulfilled only a century later, by the South American romantic, Villa Lobos.  

MAURO GIULIANI                      Grande Ouverture  Op. 61

Written in a strict sonata form and proceeded by a slow introduction, the Grande Ouverture, Op.61 highlights the heroic possibilities of the 19th century guitar, showing us how it can aspire to being a veritable "small orchestra" in its own right. The expressivity and freedom demonstrated in Giuliani's virtuosity are teeming with originality and bravura.