Mauro Giuliani *


Together with Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829) was one of the most famous guitar composers in the classical era. Sor had his reign in Paris, Giuliani had it likewise in Vienna.

Giuliani was born in the Italian region of Apulia. He started his musical career on the cello and the violin. After his musical training het took off to Vienna, where he gained fame as a guitarist and composer. He got into financial troubles there too, so finally he returned to Italy.

Giuliani has a large oeuvre; his opus numbering reaches 150. Besides the often virtuoso and technically demanding concert works and opera arrangement, he composed a large number of instructional pieces and playing pieces for the market of home music. The publication of the large number of works did not yield sufficient money, he was not quite thrifty after all, to enjoy a comfortable old age, he died in poverty in 1829.


Various Pieces

Two Sonatinas Op 71, Nr. 1 and 3, an Etude, an Allegro and two folk song arrangements

Choix de Mes Fleurs Chéries Op. 46

Choix de Mes Fleurs Chéries has an interesting story to tell.

The Swede Carl Oscar Boije af Gennas (1849-1923) was a passionate amateur guitar player who gathered an enormous collection of guitar music. Part of this collection was a large part of the nineteenth century guitar literature plus a great number of guitar periodicals, which contained pieces for guitar and various ensembles of guitar with voice, violin and even piano.

Boie had stated in his last will that his collection was to be donated to the Statens Musikbibliotek, the central Swedish library for sheet music. All the music from the Boie collection presently is in the Public Domain.

That’s a nice invitation to an odyssey for new music. The collection contains a great deal, music from the classical period and the early romantic era. A large number of pieces is decently engraved, but quite a few are just hand-written concepts.

I wanted to practice a bit with converting old material from manuscripts and engravings into a modern setting. It appeared to be an adventure, often the old scores are barely legible and they contain errors which you must try to correct by ear when you play back the score (my knowledge of music theory is not so extended that I can correct errors a prima vista!)

The test object is a work by Mauro Giuliani (1781 -1829), to be specific Opus 46, titled Choix de mes Fleurs Cheries, ou Le Bouquet Emblematique. Giuliani dedicated this work to Jules Giraud.

As the title of the work suggests, the pieces are named after flowers. It definitely is no easy music, but it is a nice set of typically Giuliani-esque pieces, featuring some virtuoso passages at times.

Terpsichore du Nord Op. 147

In the Renaissance, Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621) composed and collected over 300 dances in the collection Terpsichore. He took the name of Terpsichore, the Muse of the Dance from the Greek mythology.

Probably Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829) thought about repeating this feat when he composed his Op. 147 La Terpsichore du Nord. Finally, he produced a collection of 16 pieces in dancing mood. Most pieces are in two-four time with a common structure of Theme, Trio and Da Capo. In some pieces you can recognize folk song elements.

I found a version of La Terpsichore du Nord in the Boije Collection and I thought that an integral setting in modern notation would be nice for the classical guitar world.

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