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CARULLI, F.: Guitar and Piano Music, Vol. 1 (Franz and Debora Halasz)

Composer(s):Carulli, FerdinandoCarulli, Gustavo
Artist(s) Halasz, Franz, guitar • Halasz, Debora, piano
Period(s) Classical (1750-1830)
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.570587
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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Born in Naples, Ferdinando Carulli wrote the first complete classical guitar method, which continues to be used today. From among his more than 400 guitar pieces come several transcriptions with operatic associations, including those of Beethoven’s Variations on an aria by Mozart and several Rossini overtures. His son, Gustavo, also enjoyed a successful career as a guitarist and teacher. Franz and Débora Halász have been praised as “a young and exciting team…that persuasively combines piano and guitar” (American Record Guide).


Review By David Denton,Naxos,March 2009

Though all but forgotten today, Ferdinando Carulli was the most fashionable guitarist working in Paris in the early part of the 19th century, and the first to write a complete classical guitar method. A most gifted virtuoso who became a highly respected pedagog as well as a prolific composer. Most of his output involved the guitar and included duos, trios, chamber ensembles and concertos. Always commercially aware, he explored the guitar and piano duo, a particularly marketable pairing among Parisian audiences. Like most composers of his time, he created popularity by incorporating in his works tunes from famous operas. Opening with an adaptation of Beethoven’s Variations on Ein Madchen oder Weibchen from Mozart’s Die öte, it is the piano that has the major rôle. Greater equality comes in the Duo on themes of Rossini, Ferdinando working here with his guitar-playing son, Gustavo. They also combined in the Duo in D major, though by what extent each contributed is unclear. The most substantial score comes from 1814 with the Grand Duo Concertante in A major,its three extended movements almost in the form of a concerto. The three-movement Nocturne is a lively score and unlike music that came later with that title. The disc ends with three showpieces using Rossini themes here taken at leisurely tempos. Franz and Debora Halasz are the persuasive guitar and piano duo, Franz’s nimble left hand bringing a nice clarity to his playing. Strangely, many of the technical difficulties are given to, and met by, Brazilian-born Debora who shows why she is enjoying such a successful solo career. The recording made by Bavarian Radio could have been a little more generous in their balance towards Franz.



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