– short read-
Image: supposedly of Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)
Within the small confines of classical music there is a sub-section: the guitar. It is on the fringes but it keeps up an important mainstream practice by including a group of dedicated and sometimes prolific composers. The long tradition of the player-composer is alive and well within its ranks and invites comparison.
In the 17th century de Visée in France and Sanz in Spain played and composed for the 5-string guitar. Sor, Giuliani, Mertz, Regondi, Tárrega, Llobet and more provide a link to the 20th century. In our time there are so many it would be unfair for me to mention a few by name.
But what has happened in the wider classical music community? The line of virtuoso player-composers includes Handel on the harpsichord, Lizst on the piano, Paganini on the violin. Yet their tradition has not continued with the same vigour. The reasons for this are various and complex.
It is pleasing to report that guitarist-composers reflect the continuation of an exciting tradition largely lost in other instruments.
Thank you for reading.