I am always on the lookout for something exceptional and interesting regarding guitar concerts in our Region.
Tonight Terry McKenna will be in concert performing a Giuliani Concerto for the Terz guitar.
It promises to be a fine concert and here are his notes:
Mauro Giuliani (July 27, 1781, Bisceglia, Italy – May 8, 1821, Naples, Italy)
Guitar Concerto No. 3 in F, Op. 70
Mauro Giuliani, guitarist and composer of lasting and deserved fame was born in Bisceglia, southern Italy in 1781. He was quick to establish himself in Vienna in 1806 where, in addition to his acclaimed solo performances, he kept musical and social company with elite players and composers. Giuliani returned to Italy in 1819 continuing his highly successful concert and composer career in Rome and Naples, where he died in 1829.
When Giuliani was a young player, the guitar had just undergone a major transformation. The five double courses of the ‘”baroque guitar” were replaced with five, then six single strings. This, and the contemporary styles created an opening that the supremely talented Mauro Giuliani generously filled. He gave this “modern” guitar an extensive repertoire of solo and chamber music, ranging from the virtuosic to the pedagogic in all conventional genres.
Mauro Giuliani’s Third Grand Concerto for Terz Guitar and Full Orchestra, Opus 70, was published in 1822, but composed in 1816, and first performed by the composer soon after in 1818.
The first movement is an Allegro moderato in Concerto Sonata form. An Andante alla Siciliana theme and three variations comprises the second movement. The concluding movement is a Polonaise, allegretto.
The overall disposition of this work is one of good natured invention with episodes of nuanced sweetness, and the occasional brooding contrast. This is a challenging, engaging and absolutely delightful piece to play!
A note about the Terz Guitar – from Michael Schreiner, Toronto luthier, and creator of Terry McKenna’s instrument:
The birthplace of the Terz guitar was Vienna, a city well known for its musical heritage. Musical activity extended from concert halls to private homes, where playing music was an important pastime. As the guitar had long been a popular instrument for amateurs, larger families had several guitarists who wanted to play in parts.
Surviving guitars from a little earlier show scratches made by a device called a capo, that wraps around the neck of guitars to raise the pitch. The capos were placed at the third fret, a minor third above normal guitar pitch – a terz (in German). This practice was apparently widespread. When local guitar builders, around 1810, developed a smaller instrument with a string length equal to this popular standard, the demand for them exploded.
Johann Stauffer, who was at the beginning of his legendary career, was a little late in exploiting this opportunity. But at the urging of the composer Mauro Giuliani, Stauffer accepted the challenge, experimenting with several designs and ultimately set the standard for fine Terz guitars.
The guitar you will hear tonight is a faithful replica of one of his many Terz guitars. The original is on display in Berlin.