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Mauro GIULIANI (1781-1829)
Guitar Music Vol. 2
Sonata Eroica, Op 150 [13:19]; Variations on “Nume perdonami, se in tale istante” from Generali’s “I Baccanali di Roma”, Op. 102 [8:28]; Potpourri No. 2, Op. 28 [11:09]; Grand Potpourri No. 3, Op. 31 [14:46]; Potpourri No. 1, Op. 26 [14:15]; Fughetta, Op. 113 [2:33]; Six Variations on “I bin a Kohlbauern Bub”, Op. 49 [11:06]
Marco Tamayo (guitar)
rec. St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 4, 8 September 2003. DDD
NAXOS 8.555850 [75:36]

 

 

St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada was the recording venue and anyone who is the least interested in guitar records nods approvingly. Say: “Produced by Norbert Kraft and Bonnie Silver, isn’t it?” So it is and nothing more needs to be said. They know their business when it comes to recording the guitar.

And guitarist Marco Tamayo also knows his business. Cuban-born he has since 1995 lived in Salzburg, Austria, where he studied for Eliot Fisk and where he is now a teacher at the Mozarteum. Among his list of qualifications are several victories in international guitar competitions. In 2002 he received the Mauro Giuliani Prize for his interpretations of the composer’s music over the years, including the world premičre of some unpublished works. He is technically accomplished and plays with great verve.

Giuliani was a Neapolitan but from the age of 25 spent most of his life in Vienna, where the climate for guitar music was more favourable. He was regarded as the greatest guitar virtuoso of his generation and wrote a large quantity of music for the instrument. This is the second volume of his music on Naxos, the first, played by Ricardo Gallén, contains variations, of which he wrote a lot (Naxos 8.555284). From the same company there is also a disc with duets for flute and guitar, played by Nora Shulman and Norbert Kraft (8.554560).

As can be seen from the heading there are more variations on this disc but in addition we get to hear one of his three sonatas, the one-movement Sonata Eroica Op. 150, which was published posthumously by Ricordi in 1840. There are some quite daring harmonies here but generally speaking this is not very heroic music. It is quite agreable to listen to, but it requires a virtuoso to manage certain passages, which Marco Tamayo does with flying colours.

Pietro Generali (1773-1832), today a forgotten name, was a rather successful opera composer in his day and I Baccanali di Roma, written in 1816, the same year as his somewhat younger compatriot Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia, is regarded as his best work. The aria from this opera, used as the basis for Giuliani’s variations, has echoes of the first bars of the Nat King Cole classic Mona Lisa. The composition as a whole is built on dynamic contrasts and Tamayo makes the most of his opportunities. This is bold playing.

In an era without radio and gramophone records there was still a need for musical entertainment and a lot of music-making took place in people’s homes. The musical potpourri, or medley as we call it nowadays, was popular, and Giuliani contributed to this genre with five compositions (Opp. 18, 26, 28, 31 and 41), three of which are included here.  Colin Cooper writes in his liner notes that there is some confusion concerning the numbering of them since the fourth, Op. 31, was printed under the misleading title 3rd Grand Pot Pourri. It is still on this disc given as No. 3 and the Op. 26 is No. 1, so what happened to Op. 18? Never mind, this is entertaining music although not very deep. The melodic material is drawn from various sources: opera arias (Non piů andrai, Figaro’s first act aria from Le nozze di Figaro is included in Potpourri No. 2 [track 3]), folk-songs, street-songs, Viennese Ländler. Much of it is forgotten today, but even if the humming factor is low there is a cornucopia of good tunes here and, played with obvious enthusiasm, they make for pleasant listening. They are quite loosely put together and can hardly be regarded as masterpieces. Technically they are moderately difficult, intended for home music-making as they were.

The two remaining pieces are more demanding. The little Fughetta is a fine composition and the Six Variations on “I bin a Kohlbauern Bub” based on a folk-song “I am a cabbage-farm boy” is a virtuoso piece. The fifth variation in a minor key lends a more serious atmosphere to the composition, but this is soon dispelled by the galloping final variation.

Maybe not essential listening but played with such obvious relish it is still worth anyone’s fiver and it runs for more than 75 minutes.

Göran Forsling

 

 

 

 

 



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