Petit dejeuner

1. G. Rossini
Ouverture “Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra
2. V. Bellini
Ouverture “Il Pirata”
Allegro con fuoco
Andante maestoso
Allegro agitato
3. L. V. Beethoven
Andante varié et rondeau op.155
4. G. Rossini
Ouverture “La Cenerentola”
Allegro vivace
5. W. A. Mozart
Andante et rondeau op.167
6. F. J. Haydn
London Symphony

In the first half of the last century, the phenomenon of the instrumental transcription of works or famous melodies, faced up with huge success.

The transcriptions reached their enormous success whether because they took advantage of a success of works which imposed themselves to the tastes of the public, acting as a real resonance box, or helping in spreading the knowledge of a determinate lyric and instrumental work outside theatres and concert halls. The instrumental opera origin transcription became very popular also because of its use technique and instrumental language: as a matter of fact, a field of this wide production was represented by pieces of exasperated virtuosity whose purpose was strictly correlated to the spectacular performance of the interpreters. It’s not to be forgotten the most important role played by the editorial world in the first half of the 19th century. In fact the small and middle musical book industry found out the reason of its existence in this unusual repertory. Even famous publishing houses, such as Giovanni Ricordi, whose catalogue published in 1857 probably holds the record for such instrumental literature genre, took the greatest possible advantage of this remunerative stream.

Gioacchino Rossini was the musician who marked this particular phenomenon most. The unbelievable success of his works left indelible tracks either in the instrumental repertory or in the editorial one which made big economic profits just with the transcriptions in the first half of 19th century, the guitar was the instrument involved in this particular repertory.

Its great popularity, especially among the middle – upper middle class in Paris and Vienna, soon revealed itself to be a fruitful soil for the transcriptions that, indeed, developed widely taking roots in numerous directions: from the short simple piece to the tops of the most exasperated virtuosity.

There are also numerous aims.

Transcriptions were written for didactic and concert purposes; to show off a deep musical sensitiveness or virtuosity; to meet so many amateurs demands; to get into an important person’s good graces, dedicating the variations on the favourite tune. An authentic accumulation of trends, whose results were an editorial production more or less endless, on the whole. Hundreds of transcriptions were printed just in Vienna, where a lot of guitarists worked professionally in the first lustre of the century.

The validity of such operations, which appeared to be profitable, with no doubt, from a commercial point of view, resulted rather doubtful from an artistic point of view according to the severe comments of the critics of that time to some transcribers. Despite that, it’s known there were also the ones who worked with great capability such as two of the most important Italian guitarists: Mauro Giuliani (1781 – 1829) and Ferdinando Carulli (1770 – 1841). They brought a change, in a way “revolutionary”, in the way of writing and didactics of the guitar.

Carulli transcribed Mozart and Beethoven piano works, symphonic works and succeeded in reproducing the original resonant message, in the short sound space between the two guitars, always with a pleasant instrumental intention.

A strong timbre sense with orchestral taste comes out of his music, which comes from the culture of his Neapolitan Juvenile education and from his perfect transcriber’s practice always faithful to the original.

Giuliani was a nervous and lively wit the brilliant element, the solid construction and inspired singable element show up in his style and they blend perfectly. He transcribed opera ouvertures with an unexceptionable ability. Despite his writing seems to be even poor and weak, the right sonorous division between the two instruments strengthen the resources.

Luciano Pompilio