MAURO GIULIANI – Frederick Zigante
Durand/ Hal Leonard: 176 pages
The six opus numbers that make up Mauro Giuliani’s Le Rossiniane are some of his most important and valued pieces, and have been in print many times before in a vast number of editions, so why is this extremely large, well- printed book the one we should get? Firstly the notes at the beginning are truly extensive, with 15 pages each of notes in French, Italian and English, and the 3 pages each of Critical Commentary at the end also very important indeed, for anyone wanting to know the pieces’ full history. Secondly, the attention to detail in the book is astonishing, with nothing left to chance.
As for the pieces themselves, they are some of the most fabulous works to have come my way from the 19th Century. I of course knew of them, but the entire set in print is something else completely. Each one has quotes from several operas, identified by the author here at the appropriate points, and almost all of them were completely unknown to me , not particularly being an opera follower, but their transference into guitar music by Giuliani is a wonder to behold, with no places in the music where you feel it doesn’t work on the guitar. Far from it! Moreover, any thoughts that the Giuliani of some of his more straightforward material, is in these pieces, some of which I feel can often be a tad boring and over – blown, can be put right to the back of your mind. Here the move from one section to the next is nothing short of exciting and cleverly written, for technically you are always traversing the entire fingerboard as the pieces progress to their most effective conclusions.
If you feel you know Giuliani, but don’t know these six opuses, then think again. Now I can see the link between him and, say, Napoleon Coste’s more advanced pieces, whereas at one time I couldn’t .This is of course hugely demanding on your technique, and the author makes quite a lot about the singular problems that face today’s players, who avoid using the left hand thumb as Giuliani did in some of his passages, and the fact that re-fingering them to play them the way we do today does give the guitarist today several really difficult alternatives, but that said, this lovely book is definitely one that any player interested in the best of the 19th century guitar music , would gets lots of use and fun out of, and so I can heartily recommend it as one to get for your library