Recordings: Matteo Carcassi

Matteo Carcassi (1792 – 1853) in the first place was a skilful concert guitarist who started composing at a later age, resulting in about 100 works.

Matteo Carcassi was born in Florence, in the year, the French Revolution broke out. As a child, he started playing the piano, but then turned to the guitar and soon became a virtuoso.

After a stay in Germany, he moved to Paris, where he started his guitar practice, more or less overshadowed by his fellow-Italian Fernando Carulli. It took a few years before he earned his reputation as player and composer. He stopped performing in 1840 and died thirteen years later in Paris.

Concerning his compositions, Carcassi is a bit in the shade of the great composers like Sor and Giuliani. Nevertheless, his Methode and the famous 25 Etudes Melodiques et Progressives are in use even today.


Recording requires practice. In order to concentrate on one thing at a time, you need a relatively simple repertoire for practice. An example of this is Carcassi’s Opus 10, an interesting work for amateurs, entitled Amusement ou 12 Morceaux Faciles. Easy is of course relative, because in particular the last piece (a theme with variations) requires quite a bit of practice.

When recording, the pieces that are simple on paper prove to be a challenge for a representative recording nevertheless. I discarded many first attempts right away and most pieces needed extra sessions before I am satisfied. A nice experience is that recording uncovers non-optimal fingering. I had to think of alternatives in a number of cases.

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