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Reginald Kell (1906 - 1981)

Surviving accounts of the youth of Giulio Regondi present a Dickensian tale. Born in Geneva (or perhaps Genoa) in 1822 to an unnamed German mother who may have died at his birth, Giulio was raised by an Italian father (some say step-father or foster father) who was himself a talented guitarist, composer, and baritone. Young Regondi exhibited prodigious talents on the guitar; in Paris, in the age of such masters as Sor, Carulli, Carcassi and Molino, Regondi, usually performing in duo with his father, enraptured critics while still no more than seven or eight years old. The Spanish virtuoso Fernando Sor (1778-1839) dedicated his Fantaisie "Souvenir d'Amitiè," Op. 46 (1831) to the young Regondi and may have also written for him a Grand Duet (now lost), evidence of a relationship which implies mutual respect and suggests tantalisingly that Sor may even have played some rÙle in the young man's development. The Regondis, father and son, arrived in London in 1831 and achieved critical and financial success there, touring throughout the British Isles. Then, one day in about 1835, the father handed the child a 5 note and absconded with the rest of their money, said to have been several thousand pounds sterling.



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