Seems to me the idea that he could barely strum a few chords is an exaggeration. "Virtuoso" of course is a word without a very specific, fixed meaning. I have heard it said that he worked out some of the Fantastique on guitar, and that this is partly why the work sounds so different.19thcenturyguitarist wrote: I think he knew a thing or two of the guitar...but am curious to know like you brian, exactly how skilled he was.
He should have listened to Segovia: there is a whole orchestra in the guitar. What works we might have had for our humble little instrument! Of course, he might have ended up raving about an "ideal guitar orchestra" consisting of fifty thousand guitars...Philip Bone on Berlioz: Berlioz was a guitarist of ample quality as composed some of his first compositions for the guitar before turning to the orchestrated stage and mastering the orchestra timbers and tones as well as reinventing the orchestra and its positioning and giving the orchestra a new "modifyed" purpose.
This was clearly before the days of Ponce, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Rodrigo etc.In his book on orchestration Berlioz says "One can not compose for the guitar well unless one is a guitarist."
Quite interesting!Paul_B-C wrote:Actually I'm a little surprised no-one has mentioned two of the most interesting facts regarding Berlioz and the guitar;
He actually wrote a set of variations for guitar on Mozart's La ci darem la mano, which has unfortunately been lost. It's listed on the Berlioz site here http://www.hberlioz.com/Works/Catalogue.htm#lost so I assume he must have had a fairly good knowledge of the instrument!
And the other interesting thing is the fact that in the Treatise, he describes the sound of multiple guitars as follows: "The guitar - in contrast to other instruments - loses when reinforced in number. The sound of twelve guitars playing unisono is almost ridiculous." I love the implication that he managed to assemble twelve guitarists to test out the sound!
I know; I was just joking.19thcenturyguitarist wrote:@ Brian:
Berlioz: (December 11, 1803 – March 8, 1869)
"He should have listened to Segovia: there is a whole orchestra in the guitar. What works we might have had for our humble little instrument! Of course, he might have ended up raving about an "ideal guitar orchestra" consisting of fifty thousand guitars..."
He died before Segovia was born so....
This is so; it is not unusual for composers to consult instrumentalists when they want to compose for an instrument they do not know well. If memory serves, Brahms consulted extensively with Joseph Joachim when he wrote his violin concerto, for example."This was clearly before the days of Ponce, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Rodrigo etc. "
True, but thoses composers were coached with Segovia (and others) guiding them. Its not like Ponce wrote a guitar piece and sent it to the publisher. Each time he would have Segovia review it and make sure that it was playable first. Then Segovia would finger it.
19thcenturyguitarist wrote:Berlioz and Schubert both played guitar up until their teens, but when they became adults and got big they abandoned it.
You seem to be contradicting yourself here 19th19thcenturyguitarist wrote:Berlioz initially made his living as a guitarist, and he published a few pieces for guitar during the first quarter of the 19th century. As no solo guitar works have been located, most likely Berlioz only published for guitar as accompaniment.
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