Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841)
Ferdinando Carulli, was an Italian composer more widely known for his several hundred compositions for the guitar, including works for solo guitar, concertos with orchestra and chamber music.
The Nocturne Op. 189, No. 1, is part of a collection of three nocturnes in this opus. This first nocturne starts with a slow introductory section which yields to a vibrant Allegretto based on a theme from Rossini’s opera “La gazza ladra”, hence the colloquial and volatile character of the Allegretto. Both the guitar and the piano have the chance to exploit the sonorous capabilities of the instruments, as they interact in this dialogue of brightness and enlightenment.
Anton Diabelli (1781-1858)
Austrian composer, music publisher and editor. His publishing house Diabelli & Co. was in charge of the publication of a large number of Franz Schuberts’ works. Diabelli’s compositions for solo guitar are the largest group in his compositional output, and his compositions for piano are popular within the four hands piano repertoire.
The Sonatine Op. 68, is one of several pieces Diabelli wrote for guitar and piano duo. The first movement, Andante sostenuto, adheres to the classical “sonata form” structure, which starts with a light and subtle theme in A major in the piano, to later alternate a protagonist role with the guitar. The Andante paves the terrain for the Rondo in the second movement, which following a traditional Rondo structure, interchanges theme and refrain between piano and guitar.
Pietro Pettoletti (ca.1795-1870)
Pettoletti was a composer of Italian descent, however it is not known where or when exactly was he born. He lived in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Russia and was known as a concert performer, touring Europe as a guitarist, and teacher of piano and guitar.
The Duettino, is one of those very commonly found instrumental pieces of the 19th century, based on a theme from an opera, in this case, Count Rodolfo’s cavatina, for lyric bass “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni” from the first act of La Somnambule, by Vincenzo Bellini. In the cavatina, Rodolfo sings with nostalgia about the serenity of his youth, while contemplating a village in early 19th century Switzerland. The duet for guitar and piano perfectly captures this atmosphere, which provides an ambience of calmness and longing.
Carl Eulenstein (1802-1890)
German composer, guitarist, violinist and renown Jew’s harp performer, in addition to writing several books on German and English grammar. His Love’s Ritornella is one of his most famous pieces.
Joseph Kuffner (1776-1856)
Kuffner was a German composer, violinist and for some time the band director of the Bavarian Army. His compositional output includes music for clarinet (among them a clarinet and strings quintet that was for a while attributed to Carl M. von Weber) symphonies, chamber works and a substantial number of pieces for guitar.
The Sonata Op. 42 is a large work for piano and guitar duo, where both instruments are set to explore their technical and lyric possibilities. In the first movement, with a very well structured “sonata form”, the main themes are evenly distributed between the two instruments, balancing technical sixteen note passages, with tender lyrical and playful melodies, “Alberti bass”, and other commonly used compositional devises of the 18th and early 19th century repertoire. The second movement, Andante, serves almost as a very short introduction-like section to the Andante con Variazione. The theme of the Andante is presented by the guitar, to which a series of eight variations follow, sometimes showcasing the guitar and others the piano. The variations set the tone for the last Allegro, which finally unifies the two instruments for a triumphant finale.
Francesco Molino (1768-1847)
Italian composer and viola, oboe and guitar player. He wrote more than sixty works for the guitar, including solo works, chamber music and a concerto for guitar and orchestra. He also wrote treatises on guitar technique, which discussed, among other topics, the use of the left hand thumb to perform, to which he was opposed.
Molino composed only three works for guitar and piano, his Nocturnes, op 36, 44 and 57. These nocturnes follow the idea of the pieces of the late eighteen century, such as the divertissement or the serenate (multi movement works) as opposed to the nature of the typical nocturne of the 19th century. The Nocturne Op. 36 is a work of a somehow passionate nature. It starts with a slow Introduction that leads to a lyrical Romance, where the piano has the leading theme. The theme of the Rondo is also given to the piano, to recreate the pastoral nature of the movement.
Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)
Italian guitarist, singer, cellist and composer. He is considered one of the leading guitar virtuoso and composers for the guitar of the early 19th century. As a guitarist, he concertized all over Europe. He wrote several of his chamber music compositions in collaboration with other luminaries of the time, including pianists Hummel and Moscheles, violinist Mayseder and cellist Joseph Merk. His compositions for solo guitar and guitar and orchestra are among the most celebrated pieces of the guitar repertoire.