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8.550483 - VIVALDI / GIULIANI / TORROBA: Guitar Concertos
Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)
Mauro Giuliani (1781 - 1829)
The guitar is an instrument of demonstrable antiquity, although its use in the concert-hall is relatively recent, with an increase in popularity due in part to the performances of players like Andres Segovia, using a more resonant form of the instrument, and in part to less worthy associations. The Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, priest and violinist, impresario and teacher, spent most of his working life in his native city, employed intermittently at the Ospedale della Pieta, an institution for the education of orphan, illegitimate or impoverished girls which enjoyed a high musical reputation. Vivaldi wrote nothing for the guitar, but the music he wrote for lute and for mandoline has been appropriated by guitarists for whom it provides a valuable and apt addition to repertoire. The A major Guitar Concerto, RV 82, is in origin a Trio for violin and lute, and this, with the Concerto in D major for lute and two violins, RV 93, is inscribed with the name of Count Johann Joseph von Wrtby, a high official in Bohemia, where he served as royal governor and hereditary treasurer. It is thought that Vivaldi may have met the Count in Prague in 1730, when he was absent from Venice. The G major Double Concerto, RV 532, designed for two mandolines, is splendidly effective in its two guitar version.
Mauro Giuliani, born at Bisceglie near Bari in 1781, was a guitar virtuoso, although he started his career as a cellist. He settled in Vienna in 1806 and soon made a reputation for himself there, in competition with Viennese players of lesser ability. He created a particularly strong impression with his Guitar Concerto, Opus 30, which he performed in Vienna in 1808, a work that suited well enough patriotic feelings of the day, with a sprightly principal theme in the first movement, to which the timpani add a martial touch, elements of pathos in the second and a lively finale. In 1813 he played the cello in a famous performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, of which Spohr has left a graphic account, and the following year was appointed chamber virtuoso to the Empress Marie-Louise, wife of Napoleon. He spent his later years, until his death in 1829, in Italy once more. As a composer he made a significant and considerable addition to the classical guitar repertoire, of which the Opus 30 Concerto is a good example.
Federico Moreno Torroba belongs to a more recent generation of Spanish composers for an instrument closely associated with their country. His attractive Sonatina is characteristic of the kind of music written in this century under the influence of Segovia, a performer of the greatest influence, overtly Spanish and romantic in mood.
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