Mertz: Dances, Nocturnes and Etudes for Guitar

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Composer & Artist:
Composer: Caspar Joseph Mertz
Artists: Graziano Salvoni (guitar)

Here’s another recording dedicated to the music of Caspar Joseph Mertz, the court guitarist of Empress Carolina Augusta whose performances became famous throughout Austria, Hungary and Germany during the 1800s, making him one of the most sought-after musicians in 19th-century Europe. Today he is best remembered for the successful Barden-Klänge (Bardic Sounds), the focus of 94773; here we have a chance to become acquainted with a great many other works he composed for six-string guitar.

A fertile melodic style prevails throughout, with the composer paying particular homage to the spirit of the Austrian people (VI Ländler), also evoking the spirit of Hungarian music in several works (including Verlands Blüthen – Originelle Ungarische). Dances abound, and the release also shows how Mertz devoted much of his career to educational studies, many of which are at least as interesting as his non-pedagogical works. (They include the short, original Übungsstücke from the Schule für die Gitarre – 15 short pieces that encompass an enthralling melodic style and which constitute a veritable cycle due to a clever matching of tones and styles.) With virtuosity never in short supply throughout the compilation, Italian guitarist Graziano Salvoni – who enjoys a busy schedule in his home country both as a soloist and with various chamber orchestras – delivers astute performances of these engaging works. He plays a Johann Anton Stauffer model – named after and made by one of the most important luthiers in central Europe, a contemporary of Mertz and whose instruments it is highly likely the composer-virtuoso himself regularly performed on.

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