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Mauro Giuliani Composer

Guitar Concerto No.1 in A, Op.30

Performances: 14
Tracks: 36
  • Guitar Concerto No.1 in A, Op.30
    Key: A
    Year: 1808
    Pr. Instruments: Guitar & Orchestra
    • 1.Allegro maestoso
    • 2.Andantino: Siciliano
    • 3.Polonaise: Allegretto
The guitar, and its relative the lute, enjoyed some popularity in the Renaissance and Baroque eras. But by the nineteenth century the lute was more or less obsolete and the guitar, which by then had taken its familiar six-string form, had fallen out of favor. Perhaps the best-known guitarist of that century was Mauro Giuliani, who, after moving to Vienna in his middle twenties, almost single-handedly brought the instrument back to public notice through his playing, composing, and teaching. He also wrote what might be the first true guitar concerto, his Concerto No. 1 in A major, which he premiered in Vienna in April 1808 to considerable acclaim.

The concerto is in the usual three movements. The first, Allegro maestoso, is a sonata-allegro based on two genial themes, both of which have a playful, Rossini-like cast. Once the orchestra presents the tunes, the guitar takes them up and develops them with a variety of embellishments and much technical display. The second movement, an Andantino, is marked Siciliano. It begins with a melancholy theme in the minor for strings, later taken by the guitar. Interestingly, the charming second tune is in the major, and the movement continues in the major to the end. A sprightly refrain opens the third movement Allegretto, a polonaise. Here, and throughout the concerto, the guitarist is kept quite busy; Giuliani illustrates why he had such a reputation as a virtuoso.

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